Claims commission headed by former chief justice of the Kerala high court VK Bali would now be deciding claims of public/private property destruction in May 2009 violence in Jalandhar and other districts of Punjab after the attack on Sant Rama Nand in Vienna (Austria).
Complying with the Punjab and Haryana high court's May 29 directions, the Punjab government has appointed justice (retd) Bali as head of the claims commission. Former Punjab district and sessions judge CR Goel has also been appointed as accessor-cum-registrar to estimate the damages due to the acts of violence on May 24 and 25, 2009.
Information about constitution of commission was submitted by the state government before the vacation bench of Punjab and Haryana high court comprising justices LN Mittal and Tejinder Singh Dhindsa during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by a non governmental organisation General Samaj Manch.
It was also submitted that the state was separately issuing the terms and conditions for the commission and since there were some mistakes in the notification of not mentioning other districts affected by violence, except Jalandhar, it would be amended.
The high court had earlier made it clear in its orders that liability of the compensation amount would be borne by the actual perpetrators of the crime as well as organisers of the event. It had further added that exemplary damages may be awarded to the extent not greater than twice the amount of the actual damage to the affected parties.
Sant Rama Nand, preacher of Guru Ravi Dass Gurudwara Ballan village situated on Jalandhar-Pathankot national highway, died in an attack at a Vienna (Austria) Gurdwara during a congregation on May 24, 2009.
The news of the Guru's death were followed by huge destruction of public and private property in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahar and Kapurthala districts during the agitation by Sant's followers.
On May 24 and 25 a total of 170 vehicles which included 32 Punjab Roadways buses, 23 private buses, seven mini buses, 17 trucks and 56 jeeps and cars were set ablaze. 18 bogies of the Madurai Express were also set afire at Jalandhar railway station. The total damage during the agitations was calculated to be around Rs 7-8 crore.