Plea challenges cap on relief for families of minors killed in riots

Security personnel keep vigil in Mustafabad following the riots in north-east Delhi.  

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the city government to respond to a plea by two parents, who lost their minor sons during the north-east Delhi riots last year, challenging the maximum compensation cap of ₹5 lakh for death of minors.

The petition, also filed jointly by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, highlighted that the Delhi government’s assistance scheme for riot victims’ prescribes different compensation amounts to the families of deceased adults and minors.

Families of deceased minors receive ₹5 lakh, which is half of what the families of deceased adults receive.

Delhi govt. told to reply

“The difference in compensation is arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution since it fails to recognise the full value of the ‘death of minors’,” read the petition filed by advocate Karuna Nundy.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh asked the Delhi government and other concerned authorities to respond to the petition within four weeks and posted the case for further hearing on April 26.

One of the petitioners, Ram Sugarat, lost his 15-year-old boy Nitin Paswan to the communal violence.

Nitin had gone out on February 26 to buy some ‘chowmein’ from a nearby streetcart in Gokulpuri.

When Nitin didn’t come home, Mr. Sugarat reported him missing at the Gokulpuri Police Station. He was later informed that his son was in the emergency room of GTB Hospital, where he was lying unconscious.

“His face had blood on it and he had a two-inch injury on the back of his head, which had been bleeding profusely. On inquiring about the cause of the injury, Mr. Sugarat was told that his son had been hit by a tear-gas shell. Nitin died lated that day,” the plea stated.

The second petitioner, Rihana Khatoon, lost her 17-year-old son Amaan during the riots. Ms. Khatoon said that on February 25, Amaan had gone to get some milk from a nearby dairy in Jafrabad. When he didn’t return home, she called up Amaan but received no answer. Later, a group of people came to her house and informed Ms. Khatoon that her son had been shot and was taken to a government hospital.

She found her son unconscious and bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound in the side of his head. “Ms. Khatoon was told that her son had been shot by someone on the roof of the Jafrabad metro station around 3 p.m.,” read the petition. Amaan died the next day.

Ms. Karat, who has been working extensively to help riot-affected families, said she had written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on January 6, 2021, highlighting the difference in compensation amounts. Ms. Karat said she has not received any reply nor has any action been taken pursuant to the letter.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 5:07:51 PM |

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