Court wants orders passed in two weeks

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State Government to pass, within two weeks, orders sanctioning about Rs.7.32 crore as relief to the victims of mob frenzy in Dharmapuri district on November 7 last year.

The First Bench of Acting Chief Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan also directed the government to appoint U. Sagayam, former Collector of Madurai district, to assist the Dharmapuri District Collector in disbursing the amount to the 326 families of Natham Colony, Annanagar, Kondampatti and Chengalmedu.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on February 4.

Trouble started after Nagaraj, a caste Hindu, committed suicide after his daughter married a Dalit boy belonging to one of the colonies. Petitions were filed in the High Court seeking, among other things, a CBI investigation into the incident. By an order dated December 3, the court directed the government to provide the best medical facilities to those who had been hospitalised.

When the matter came up on Thursday, Advocate-General A. Navaneethakrishnan produced a letter written by the Dharmapuri Collector to the Government Pleader, which had details of the proposal sent to the Secretary, Adi-Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department, regarding immediate relief such as food, clothing, housing and other basic amenities, and relief for damage caused to household and other property of the affected people in Natham Colony, Annanagar and Kondampatti.

The letter also showed the proposal sent to the government for sanctioning the relief eligible as per the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) rules for damage to their household, other articles and their belongings. The damage has been assessed at Rs.3.61 crore in Natham Colony, Rs.53.26 lakh in Annanagar, Rs.2.98 crore in Kondampatti and Rs.18.92 lakh in Chengalmedu.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the government had so far not passed any order on the proposal.

The Advocate-General submitted that the government had sanctioned Rs.1.63 crore for providing immediate relief to those affected. The Chief Minister had also sanctioned Rs.50,000 to the victims from the CM’s Relief Fund.

Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan said that in their view, “the sum sanctioned was not at all sufficient taking into consideration the mental agony and pain underwent by the affected people of the area.” Further, the matter of providing adequate relief was under consideration by the government from January 5. Hence, to meet the ends of justice, the Bench said it was directing the government to pass appropriate orders sanctioning nearly Rs.7.32 crore.

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