In a relief to the state government, the Andhra Pradesh high court on Thursday stayed its own order to retrieve about Rs. 70 lakh the state had paid to the Muslim youths wrongly detained in the Mecca Masjid bomb blasts case.
The case relates to 70 young persons who were probed for their role in the May 2007 blasts but later discharged. Following complaints of police excesses and the directives of the National Minority Commission, the state government had issued orders to compensate them and the money was paid.
While 20 people were paid Rs. 3 lakh each, another 50 were given Rs. 20,000 each. Hearing a petition by Hyderabad-based social worker Venkatesh Goud, who had challenged the government order, a bench headed by chief justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta on Monday asked how the government resorted to this. The bench expressed the view that due process of law had not been followed.
Making it clear that the government had no such jurisdiction or authority, the court ruled that compensation could not be awarded to someone on the basis of acquittal or discharge in a case.
Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy then indicated the government might appeal against the order at the Supreme Court.
Reddy supported the compensation as a confidence-building measure to help the youth begin a new life.
However, on Thursday, the court recalled its order and asked the victims to be made respondents in the matter. While doing so, the court is understood to have referred to a Supreme Court order that ruled in favour of such government compensations. The court gave two weeks, following which the case would be heard again.