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26/11: legal aid eludes first compensation claimant

It’s been three months since the Bombay High Court set up its Legal Services Committee for providing free legal aid to dependent family members of the terror attack victims including security personnel.

It’s been three months since the Bombay High Court set up its Legal Services Committee for providing free legal aid to dependent family members of the terror attack victims including security personnel. It’s also over two months since the first compensation claim was sent to various departments of the state government.

However,there has been no response from the government to either the legal aid cell or the claim of the family that had lost its sole source of income in the Vile Parle taxi blast on 26/11.

Moreover,the advocate in charge of LSC who was appointed to provide legal assistance has now been shifted to the Maharashtra Legal Aid Cell leaving a disabled LSC behind.

According to sources,no one has been appointed to take charge of the committee yet.

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As for the claimant Abdul Rahim Aboobaker,whose taxi MH-01 G-7792 was destroyed in the explosion at Vile Parle,he had sought legal aid since he has been unable to procure the relevant documents from the police and the state for claiming compensation.

Aboobaker had stated in his letter that the taxi was purchased after selling his wife’s jewellery in 1994. He had also carried out repairs of the taxi in June 2008,spending Rs 75,000.

Aboobaker,who has an unmarried daughter and two sons employed in Gujarat,claims the taxi was the sole source of income for him and his family and that the insurance did not cover the damage as the taxi was insured only for third party claims.

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The letter states that driver of the taxi,Mohammed Umar Khalid Shaikh,a migrant from Uttar Pradesh who lived with his wife and three children at Govandi,was killed along with Hyderabad-based advocate Laxminarayan Goyal in the blast on the Western Express Highway.

Aboobaker is seeking compensation for the damage caused to his taxi,which includes payment for the loss and reimbursement of expenses incurred thereafter.

Advocate Rajan Salvi,appointed to provide the legal service,has forwarded the claim to the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Maharashtra and the Chief Secretary,Ministry of Home Affairs.

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When contacted,Aboobaker’s son Maqsood Shaikh said he had no inkling as to what was happening and was yet to hear from the government. “We haven’t got a rupee as compensation. Our family is going through hardships,” Shaikh said.

To make things easy for victims of 26/11 terror attacks,the Executive Chairman of the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority,Justice J N Patel,had issued directions to extend free legal aid to the victims.

As per the directions,the victim and dependent family members are entitled to free legal aid and assistance for getting compensation,medical treatment,death certificate in case of death,and legal heir certificates. Aid will further be given to identify missing persons,claim insurance,claim workmen compensation,recover movable and immovable property,receive benefits of schemes from the state and central governments and get psychological/social counselling.

First published on: 31-03-2009 at 11:46:26 pm
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