Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday found itself in a tight spot in the Supreme Court for issuing a controversial notification that contained the names of people of only one community for the grant of Rs. 5 lakhs as rehabilitation aid for riots' victims in Muzaffarnagar area.
"All victims are eligible and equal. Better you withdraw the notification," a bench of chief justice P Sathasivam and justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi said.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for the state, promptly did the damage-control by saying "No person will be denied relocation and rehabilitation (on the ground of religion) and it should not have gone into the notification the way it has gone. We will recall it and issue a fresh one."
The state government gave an undertaking that it will "recall" the October 26 notification and said that in the fresh notification it would be clearly mentioned that the concerned authority will take care of each and every affected person and relief and rehabilitation measures would be applied "universally".
Dhawan conceded such a notification was "bound to cause alarm".
While hearing a batch of petitions, the bench also termed as "serious" the allegation that a police inspector, who is probing the murder of two boys that had triggered the communal clashes in the area, was forcing the father of one of the deceased to give an affidavit diluting the complaint.
The court also issued a notice on a fresh plea filed by Ravindra Kumar, through advocate Sanjay Tyagi, that he has been pressurised by a police officer of Special Investigation Cell (SIC) to give an affidavit as per the wishes of the investigators during the probe into the murder of his son and his brother on August 27.
The incident had triggered the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas of western UP on September 7 that killed 61 persons.
The plea also contained a hand-written draft of the police inspector who had allegedly asked the complainant to give an affidavit as per the draft.