SC directs Maha govt to submit report containing details of 168 missing people to committee, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to submit a report containing details of 168 people, who were reported to have gone missing during the 1992-93 communal riots in Mumbai, to a committee constituted by the apex court. The apex court observed that a March 2020 affidavit filed before it by the principal secretary of the Home department of state notes that 900 people died in riots and 168 persons were reported missing and compensation has been paid to the legal heirs of these deceased and family members of 60 missing people.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul passed a slew of directions in its verdict delivered on a plea which sought directions, including to the state to accept and act on the findings of Sri Krishna Commission of Enquiry, and also for payment of compensation to persons identified as missing.

“There shall be a committee headed by the member secretary of MSLSA (Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority) to monitor the implementation of the directions issued by this judgment,” said the bench, also comprising justices A S Oka and Vikram Nath.

It said the state shall appoint a revenue officer, not below the rank of deputy collector, and a police officer, not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, who shall be the other two members of the committee.

“The state government shall submit to the committee a report containing details of 168 missing persons including their names and addresses. The state government will also place material regarding efforts made to trace family members of 108 missing persons who have been deprived of compensation in terms of the second government resolution,” it said.

The bench said the state shall make all possible efforts to trace the legal heirs/ family members of the missing persons.

It said the committee shall monitor this exercise and assist the legal representatives of the missing people to complete the procedural formalities.

The top court said the state shall also submit to the committee the record relating to compensation paid to the persons entitled to it.

It said the state shall provide a list of victims who have not been paid compensation in terms of the two government resolutions.

The bench directed that the committee shall also monitor the efforts of the state to trace other victims who were entitled to compensation but the same was not paid to them.

“The victims identified hereafter shall also be paid the compensation with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from January 8, 1994, that is, from the expiry of the period of six months from the date of the first government resolution, till actual payment,” it said.

The bench said the state shall comply with the requirement of submitting necessary details to the committee within two months.

“The entire exercise of payment of compensation and/ or interest shall be completed by the state government within a period of nine months from today. The state government shall report compliance made from time to time to the committee,” it said.

The top court said a detailed report containing details of the compliance of the directions shall be filed by the Secretary of MSLSA before it within a period of 10 months.

The committee shall seek necessary guidance from the executive chairperson of MSLSA for implementation of the directions issued by the apex order, it said, adding the panel shall also be entitled to seek the assistance of para legal volunteers.

In its verdict, the top court noted that the affidavit discloses the details of the fate of 253 riot related criminal cases and it also discloses that one case is pending in the sessions court.

“The state government shall provide details of the only pending riot related criminal case before the sessions court at Mumbai to the Registrar General of the Bombay High Court who shall bring it to the notice of the concerned court that the case needs to be disposed of at the earliest,” the bench said.

It said the state shall provide details of 97 cases on dormant files to the Registrar General of the high court within one month.

“On receipt of the details, the high court on the administrative side shall issue necessary communication to the concerned courts in which the cases are pending to take necessary steps to trace the accused,” it said.

The apex court said the state government shall immediately constitute a special cell to trace the absconding/ missing accused in these cases and to assist the concerned courts so that trial can proceed against them.

While disposing of the plea, the bench said a copy of this judgment shall be forwarded to the member secretary of MSLSA. PTI ABA ZMN

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