Expressing displeasure at the practice of seeking adjournments on flimsy grounds, the Supreme Court has pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to list the steps taken by it to compensate victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“We must discourage this practice as it unnecessarily delays disposal of matters,” a bench of Justices B P Singh and Altamas Kabir said while criticising the State Government for failing to give information on steps taken by it to implement a Central government-sponsored scheme to pay compensation to victims of the riots.
Warning that it was giving a last oppportunity to the state government to comply with its August 17 order, the bench said, “In case the order is not complied with by that date, the state shall pay by way of cost Rs 25,000.”
The court was irked by the state government’s failure to comply with its order of May 17 asking it to file an affidavit within four weeks on allegations by some victims that no steps had been taken to compensate them.
After the Nanavati Commission of inquiry into the anti-Sikh riots submitted its report, the Centre in January announced a scheme for granting enhanced compensation to victims with a direction to states to complete the exercise by March.
The court noted that Uttar Pradesh had so far not placed before it the report on steps taken by it in line with a Janaury 16 letter sent by the Union home ministry.
Senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for some of the victims, informed the court that Delhi and some states like Haryana have implemented the scheme but Uttar Pradesh had not taken any step that would benefit around 5,000 victims.
According to the scheme, the states had to assess the loss of property and pay compensation that was to be reimbursed from Central funds. The Central government-sponsored scheme was discussed during the hearing of a petition in which some victims from Lalitpur district challenged the compensation given to them by the state government.