In The line of fire for keeping around 25,000 allottees of the 1981 Rohini Residential Scheme waiting for more than 30 years,the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday proposed out-of-turn allotment for people who were critically injured in the September 7 blast.
Though the court accepted their proposal and sought a policy intended to treat such litigants as a separate category,it pulled up the DDA: Tell us,how do you want to compensate the applicants who have been waiting for over 30 years for allotment. Are they also not victims of another sort?
To this,the DDAs counsel pointed out to the bench,comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna,that 60 per cent demarcation of the plots had already been done,and the remaining 40 per cent would be completed within a week. This was,however,opposed by petitioner Rahul Guptas counsel Mayank Mishra,who said no physical carving of the plot had taken place,and in fact the size of the plot was being reduced much to the disadvantage of allottees.
The court later directed the DDA to file an additional affidavit,detailing the work it has done with regard to plot allotment. Although its different from the kind of compensation you (DDAs counsel) are talking,25,000 people have been waiting for their housing plots for three decades… we are trying to accelerate the allotment… we want the people to avail of the benefits, observed Justice Misra.
The Bench was initially reluctant to take a formal note of the submission by the DDA counsel on their proposal for preferential treatment to litigants who were injured in the blast. It added the concerning part in its order only after Gupta came forward and requested the court to ask the DDA to go ahead and at least accord relief to his friend,Vipin Kumar Gautam,whose left leg was amputated due to injuries suffered in the blast. Let DDA allot a plot for him at least. He has lost his leg,and this could come as a reprieve, Gupta told the Bench. Following this,the HC asked the DDA to frame a comprehensive policy to give preference to blast victims,and submit it by the next date of hearing.
Gupta,Gautam and another litigant were injured in the blast on September 7,when they came to attend the hearing in the case. While Gautam,a father of four who runs a tourism agency in Jhandewalan,had to undergo amputation of his left leg,the others suffered minor injuries.
HC notice on compensation
The High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre as well as the State government to come out with a scheme regarding grant of compensation to families affected by the blast. We expect that the Centre and the State government shall rise to the occasion and show impeccable sensitivity,considering the catastrophe that has visited the victims and their families, the Bench said.
The court also observed that while the loss was irredeemable, the authorities could do their bit to help the victims as well as their kin to lead the rest of their lives with dignity.
Earlier,appearing for the Delhi government,standing counsel Najmi Waziri had submitted that an ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh has been given to families of the deceased,and Rs 2 lakh to each injured person.
The court has asked him as well as the Centres counsel to file affidavits by September 21. The PIL was filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal,who contended that despite repeated blasts in the city,the governments have failed to take steps to prevent such incidents.