The Supreme Court on Wednesday indicted the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh for its failure to prevent the communal riots in and around Muzaffarnagar in September last.

Disposing of a batch of writ petitions, a Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjan Gogoi said: “We hold the State government responsible for being negligent at the initial stage, by not anticipating the communal violence and for not taking necessary steps for its prevention.”

It directed the State to pay Rs. 15 lakh to each of the families of 63 persons who died in the riots. A compensation of Rs. 5 lakh should be paid to the families of rape victims for their rehabilitation. Adequate compensation should be paid to farmers who lost their tractors, cattle, sugarcane crop, etc. “No compensation can be adequate, nor can it be of any respite for the victims but as the State has failed in preventing such serious violation of fundamental rights, it is duty-bound to provide compensation which may help in rehabilitation,” the Bench said.

No to CBI probe

But the Bench rejected the plea for a CBI probe into the clashes, taking note of the steps taken by the State government for relief and rehabilitation.

It said: “The riots erupted in and around Muzaffarnagar as a result of communal tension prevailing in the city [and] wrecked the lives of a large number of people who fled from their homes…”

“Though the Central government, even on day one, informed this court that all necessary help, both financially and for maintaining law and order, had been provided to the State, there is no authoritative information to this court whether there was any advance intimation to the State about the violence,” the Bench added.

Writing the judgment, the CJI said: “Though the State has enumerated several aspects in the form of 11 compliance reports, there is no information whether the district administration was sounded [out] about the proposed action between the two communities. Had the Central and State intelligence agencies smelt these problems and alerted the district administration, the unfortunate incidents could have been prevented. It is the responsibility of the State administration, in association with the intelligence agencies of both the State and the Centre, to prevent recurrence of [such] communal violence in any part of the State.”