The Delhi High Court today sought response from the Aam Aadmi Party government in a petition seeking equal compensation for families of all deceased riot victims irrespective of whether they are minors or majors. (Ram Sugarat & Ors vs GNCTD & Ors).
The petition has challenged the Delhi government’s Riot Victims Assistance Scheme (Scheme) insofar as it prescribes a maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh for families of minor deceased riot victims while awarding Rs 10 lakh in case of an adult deceased victim.
A single-judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh issued notice to Delhi government, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Seelampur and Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Yamuna Vihar in the petition preferred by parents of two of the “youngest victims” of the riots that broke out in the North-East area of the national capital last year.
While one victim was 15 years, the other was 17 years old.
Brinda Karat, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, is also a petitioner in the petition.
As per the petitioners, the unequal compensation for “deceased majors and deceased minors” was arbitrary, unreasonable, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
It was asserted that the Scheme fails to recognize the full value of the “death of minors”.
“When it comes to the families of deceased riot victims, compensation must be such that it is somewhat commensurate to the actual damage suffered. Particularly in the case of deceased minors, such damage goes beyond just the loss of income of the deceased family member,” the petition said.
It was the argument of the petitioners that the authorities “failed to fathom the actual damage” on account of loss of a child.
“.. (minor deceased) aspired for bright futures. In their time off from school, they both helped their parents with their livelihoods, and in this way, contributed to the family’s monthly income..The length of the teenage boys adult working lives, and cumulative incomes accrued as earning adults, would have been equal to (indeed more than) a deceased major’s. Indeed, the Petitioners have also lost sons to lean on in their old age,” the petition stated.
Calling the present amount of Rs. 5 lakhs as inadequate, the petitioners have thus sought a minimum additional amount of another Rs. 5 lakhs as compensation.
The petitioners were represented by Advocate Karuna Nandy.
The petition was filed through advocates Ragini Nagpal, Abhay Chitravanshi, Utsav Mukherjee.
The petition would be heard next on April 26.