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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Gujarat HC raps Modi govt. for ‘inaction’ during post-Godhra riots



Gujarat HC raps Modi govt. for 'inaction' 

during post-Godhra riots

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Narendra Modi
government for "inaction and negligence" on its part during the 2002
post-Godhra riots that led to large-scale destruction of religious
structures.

A division bench of acting chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and
Justice J.B. Pardiwala made these observations, while ordering
compensation for over 500 religious structures in the state.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Islamic Relief Committee of
Gujarat (IRCG).

Inadequacy, inaction and negligence on the part of the State
government to prevent riots resulted in large-scale destruction of
religious structures across the State, the court observed.

The government was responsible for repair and compensation for such
places, it further said.

The court said that when the government had paid compensation for
destruction of houses and commercial establishments, it should also
pay compensation for religious structures.

The court also ordered that principal judges of 26 districts of the
state will receive the applications for compensation of religious
structures in their respective districts and decide on it. They have
been asked to send their decisions to HC within six months.

IRCG's petition in 2003 had sought court's directions to the
government to pay compensation towards damage of religious places
during riots on the ground that the National Human Rights Commission,
too, had recommended and the state government had in principle
accepted the suggestion.

The state government had opposed the IRCG petition, saying it was a
violation of article 27 of the Constitution.

The government further said that there was no policy with regards to
compensation for restoration/repair of religious places damaged or
destroyed during the riots.

Lawyer for IRCG, M.T.M. Hakim hailed it as a "landmark judgement" in
the country, in which compensation has been ordered for destruction of
religious structures.

"This is also probably for the first time that a court has held the
State government responsible for inaction and negligence during the
2002 riots," Mr. Hakim said.