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Frame scheme to compensate terror victims, HC tells govts

Published On : 19 Oct 2016   |  Reported By : Courtesy : DHNS   |  Pic On: Photo credit : DHNS

Bengaluru, DHNS: Direction issued on petition by girl injured in Malleswaram blast..The High Court on Tuesday directed the Union and the Karnataka governments to formulate a scheme or bring in a piece of legislation to pay compensation to victims of terrorist acts, taking reference from the schemes available in other countries, particularly the UK and the USA.

Justice A S Bopanna issued the direction and disposed of a petition filed by Leesha, who was severly injured in the bomb blast near the BJP?office in Malleswaram here in April 2013. Leesha had sought a national policy for compensation for victims of terrorist attacks.

Leesha’s counsel Sunil Kumar H had argued for more compensation to her to meet the medical expenses and also sought a government job for her. The judge directed the Centre to treat Leesha’s case as ‘special’ and decide on an appropriate quantum of money to be paid as compensation within four months.

Justice Bopanna directed the Karnataka government to provide a suitable job to Leesha within three months on compassionate grounds, commensurate with her educational qualification. The judge directed the state government to pay the actual medical expenses incurred by Leesha treating it as a ‘special case’.

The judge said that compensation paid by the Centre based on the guidelines of Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victim/Family of Victims of Terrorist Violence is ‘too inadequate’. “The lump sum amount is more of grant rather than compensation. It is not based on any intelligible method, criteria or formula. There is not even a basic reference to the avocation or future prospects of the victim in that light; the nature of injuries suffered and the treatment of the manner in which the medical expenses are reimbursed,” the order said.

The Union and the Karnataka governments should show sensitivity to comfort citizens by reasonably compensating or rehabilitating them without driving such victims to litigation. The order said, “The compensation paid by the government is so meagre that we cannot even consider it as society's way of recognising that a citizen of this country has been a victim of terrorism and such citizen has been empathised with at least, if not cared for.”

The order said the court cannot unilaterally substitute the scheme by overstepping and entering the domain of the executive or the legislature. The Union and the Karnataka governments will have to bestow their attention to take a policy decision to formulate an appropriate scheme or legislation to be in tune with the times.

Justice Bopanna said that the Justice for United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act and The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, 2012 formulated under the Criminal injuries Compensation Act, 1995 in the United Kingdom may assist the wisdom of Central and Karnataka governments to formulate an appropriate scheme.

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