The Gujarat High Court on Thursday ordered the state government to disburse within eight weeks the Rs 262.44 crore it received from the Centre as relief package for 2002 post-Godhra riot victims.
The order was passed by division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice C K Buch while hearing a PIL.
The PIL was filed by Gangan Sethi, a member of Special Monitoring Group appointed by the National Human Rights Commission, and Yusuf Shaikh, convener of Vadodara-based NGO Antarik Visthapit Hakk-Rakshak Samiti.
The PIL filed in December last year had contended that Gujarat government has failed to disburse the Centre's relief package to family of over 1,169 people who died during the riots and over 2,549 victims who were injured in post-Godhra violence.
During an earlier hearing the state government had submitted before the court that it has got instructions from the Election Commission not to disburse the amount among riot victims till the elections was over.
The Centre had released 19.05 per cent (Rs 50 crore) of the total amount at the end of 2008, following which the state government had ordered all district collectorates in January 2009 to disburse the amount within a month to the victims.
During the hearing the Centre had maintained that it had withheld Rs 212.44 crore because the Gujarat government had not reported utilisation of the first installment of Rs 50 crore that were released in 2008.
The Centre had announced to provide additional ex-gratia towards relief and rehabilitation to victims of 2002 communal riots in Gujarat on September 11, 2007.
According to the state government, as many as 29,467 families were affected and 11,237 houses got damaged in urban area while 18,230 residential properties were either demolished or damaged in rural areas across the state during the post-Godhra riots.