Delhi riots: HC asks AAP govt to reply on inadequate compensation for kids’ death

Children seen on a swing on a pleasant afternoon at a riot effected area of Shiv Vihar, North-East Delhi in the Capital on February 25 2021. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought response of Delhi government on a plea by parents of two children, who lost their lives during the communal violence in north east Delhi last year, challenging an assistance scheme to help the riot victims as it provides inadequate compensation for the death of minors.

Parents of the two minors have challenged fixing of a maximum compensation of ₹5 lakh for the death of a child in riots while the maximum compensation for death of an adult has been fixed at ₹10 lakh.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh issued notice to Delhi government and sub-divisional magistrate of Seelampur on the petition, which has also been filed on behalf of CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat, who has also been instrumental in securing scholarships for some of such victims of the North East Delhi violence.

The High Court asked the authorities to file their replies within four weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on April 26.

While petitioners Ram Sugarat is the father of a 15-year-old boy, who died after being hit by a tear-gas shell on February 26 last year in Gokulpuri area, Rihana Khatoon is the mother of a 17-year-old boy who lost his life due to gunshot injury on his head on February 25, 2020, near Jafrabad metro station.

Both the victims were school-going children and had gone to the nearby market to buy household items when the incidents took place.

Advocate Karuna Nandy, representing the petitioners, submitted that fixing the maximum compensation of ₹5 lakh for the death of a minor during riots while the families of adult victims receive ₹10 lakh compensation is arbitrary and unreasonable.

“The compelling state interest in awarding compensation to riot victims and their families is to provide relief and rehabilitation, from the loss suffered. When it comes to the families of deceased riot victims, compensation must be such that it is somewhat commensurate to the actual damage suffered. Particularly in the case of deceased minors, such damage goes beyond just the loss of income of the deceased family member,” the petition, filed through advocates Ragini Nagpal, Abhay Chitravanshi and Utsav Mukherjee, said.

The plea sought direction to the authorities to award an equal compensation of ₹10 lakh to the families of all deceased riot victims under the 'Delhi government assistance scheme for the help of riot victims', irrespective of whether they are minors or majors.

It also sought to set aside the assistance scheme in so far as it prescribes a maximum compensation of ₹5 lakh to the families of deceased riot victims who are minors.

As the two petitioner parents have received ₹5 lakh compensation each, the plea sought direction to the authorities to grant an additional amount of ₹5 lakh each for the loss of their children in the Delhi riots.

The plea said that on January 6, Ms. Karat wrote a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal highlighting the discrimination that lies in awarding different compensation to the families of deceased majors versus the families of deceased minors and requesting for the award of enhanced and equal compensation amount to them. However, neither any reply was received, nor any action was taken.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24, 2020 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 10:03:43 PM |

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