Free Press Journal

HC slams SDM for rejecting 1984 riot victim’s compensation plea


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today slammed a Sub-Divisional Magistrate here for rejecting the compensation claim of a 1984 anti-Sikh riots victim, saying the official’s order suffers from “complete non-application of mind”.

Justice Manmohan directed the SDM of Seemapuri in North East Delhi and the competent authority to re-examine the case of the riot victim and pass “a fresh speaking order”.

The judge was irked over the official giving weightage to a Home Ministry noting that compensation arising out of any court order for which the case is already on, may be paid as and when the order is received, over the high court’s August 2013 decision.

The high court in August 2013 had on riot victim Gurnam Singh’s plea directed the authorities to re-examine his case and decide the same within four weeks from date of order.

The court had also made it clear that the screening committee, which will re-examine his case, shall pass a speaking order and that non-payment of initial compensation would not be held against him.

However, despite filing statements of witnesses in support of his claim, the SDM on January 29 this year rejected Singh’s claim for compensation citing the MHA noting.

“There is total non-application of mind by the SDM. Don’t they read papers. So much incompetence. They are not illiterate.     “This court is constrained to observe that impugned order of January 29, 2014, suffers from complete non-application of mind. A general direction of MHA has been placed on a higher pedestal than the orders of the court,” the court said.

It asked the ministry to take action against the errant official saying, “He (SDM) is creating unnecessary litigation. He has no heart. The riot victim has come to the court 3-4 times already. How many times should he come?”

Singh in his petition, filed through advocate Sameer Nandwani, said that his house was ransacked and looted during the riots.     He had in 1987 filed a claim for compensation with the Lt Governor which was decided against him in 2007 on the ground that his name was not present in the list of victims provided by the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Delhi.