Over 25 years after a victim of 1992 communal riots in Ahmedabad filed a suit in 1996 demanding compensation from the Gujarat government, a court in Ahmedabad directed the state to pay Rs 49,000 to the petitioner for the "pain and shock" he had suffered and "inconvenience" caused to him due to the bullet injuries during the riots.
In a recent order, civil court judge MA Bhatti directed the Gujarat government to pay Rs 49,000 to the petitioner Manish Chauhan. The court said Chauhan be paid Rs 49,000 along with simple interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of filing of this suit, within 30 days of the order.
Chauhan, who was 18 at the time of the incident in July 1992, had demanded a Rs 7 lakh compensation. He had filed a suit before the city civil court in the year 1996. Communal riot had broken out in Ahmedabad on July 2, 1992, during Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra and continued for a few days.
On July 5 that year, when Chauhan was returning after delivering a tiffin to his mother admitted in a municipal hospital, some men on a scooter fired shots. Two bullets hit Chauhan- one each on his waist and chest, his petition said. He remained under treatment till July 14. At the time of the incident, Chauhan was earning Rs 1,000 per month as a private employee and was the sole bread owner for his family. Due to his injuries, his salary was reduced to half, and medical treatment cost him Rs 10,000 in all, his petition said.
Initially, he claimed Rs 1 lakh compensation from the state government, which he enhanced to Rs 7 lakh, with 18 percent interest, on the ground that it was the duty of the state to ensure the safety and security of its citizens in the event of communal riots. He told the court that the state ought to have taken appropriate measures by calling upon requisite security forces and that his injuries were due to a security lapse, and hence the state is liable to pay compensation.
The government pleader argued that the state government had borne the treatment cost of the plaintiff, and also paid a sum of Rs 1,000 as ex-gratia compensation two days after his injuries. Apart from that, the defendant is not liable to pay any further amount of compensation. "Though the plaintiff (Chauhan) does not seem to have made any expenses for his treatment, such injury and treatment as an in-door patient obviously have caused inconvenience to the plaintiff and his relatives and the plaintiff would also have suffered immense pain and shock as a result of such injury," the court observed in the order.
-With PTI Inputs