January 12, 2022 4:39:44 am
An Ahmedabad civil court directed the Gujarat government to pay compensation to a person who was injured in the 1992 riots, more than 25 years after he filed a civil suit claiming compensation.
The state government was directed to pay Rs 49,000 along with simple interest at the rate of six per cent per annum computed for 25 years as compensation to one Manish Chauhan who was injured after being fired at by some miscreants on July 5, 1992, in the aftermath of communal riots that broke out after a Rath Yatra event.
In a verdict dated December 30, the court noted that Chauhan was injured in a firing by miscreants which was an offshoot of communal tension showing “lack of requisite patrolling and security” on the part of state.
The civil suit filed by Chauhan in 1996 claimed that he and his brother-in-law were returning home at around 10 pm from VS Hospital where his mother was admitted, when two persons came on a scooter and opened fire near Ashram road, leaving Chauhan and his brother-in-law grievously injured.
Chauhan, aged 18 years in 1992, was admitted at the VS hospital for 10 days. Chauhan submitted that one bullet hit his waist and another hit his chest, rendering him incapable of doing physical labour, reducing his life expectancy and leaving him physically disabled.
From being the sole breadwinner of his family working at a provision store in Madhupura area, his injury diminished his physical capacity and reduced his monthly income from Rs 1,000 to Rs 500.
It was also Chauhan’s case that he ended up spending Rs 10,000 for medical treatment, and transportation.
Chauhan primarily contended that “it was the duty of the State to ensure safety and security of its subjects in the event of communal riots and the State ought to have taken appropriate measure by calling upon requisite security forces .”
The state had raised contentions on the maintainability of the suit and had further submitted that at the relevant time of incident, the state paid a sum of Rs 1,000 as ex-gratia compensation to Chauhan on July 7, 1992 and apart from the said amount, the state is not liable to pay any further amount of compensation.
City civil court judge MA Bhatti in his judgement noted that that the firing was “not on account of any personal enmity or rivalry but was rather some miscreant opened fire on a public road as an offshoot of communal tension.”
The court also noted that despite the state being bound to protect life and liberty of every human being, “some unidentified person could come on a scooter armed with a gun and roam on a public road, would clearly indicate lack of requisite patrolling and security on the part of State.”
While initially Chauhan had claimed an amount of Rs 1 lakh as compensation, he subsequently enhanced the claim to Rs 7,01,200 along with 18 per cent interest.
However, deciding on the quantum of compensation, the court took into consideration the fact that Chauhan could not produce any original certificate of the treatment he received for the 10 days, nor were there any medical evidence or any certificate acknowledging that the injuries sustained by Chauhan resulted in permanent physical disability.
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