STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Alok Aradhe on Monday issued notices to Chief Secretary, Secretary GAD, Home Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir and Home Secretary, Union of India in suo-moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) arising out of contempt petitions regarding less compensation to security personnel who sacrificed their lives during militant attacks in the State.
While issuing notice to the respondents, the Court observed that suo moto PIL is taken up after noticing some disturbing facts that a paltry sum of Rs.1 lakh is given to the families of those whose bread winners lose their lives due to militancy related activities.
The Court further observed that the killings had taken place in 2002 and a sum of Rs. 1 lakh was paid to each of the deceased family. No member of the family of the deceased person having qualified to apply for any post in Government department on compassionate grounds and no legal heir of the deceased have chosen to apply. Instead, they claimed that compensation be enhanced and the afore said request having not been considered, the legal heirs of the respective deceased persons filed writ petitions before this Court and by various orders and the Court directed the Government to sanction at least Rs. 1 lakh more to the families of the deceased persons. When the direction was not considered, contempt petitions were filed and consequently, the order was passed on 1st February, 2017 in Government Order No.71/Home of 2017 stating that there is no provision to pay more compensation and compensation already paid was in terms of Government Order No.73-GR(GAD) of 1990 dated 10th July, 1990.
The Court further observed that it is not mentioned in the aforesaid order that a sum of Rs. 1 lakh already paid is sufficient to the family of the deceased persons for their decent living in future. The Court noticed that if a person is available for compassionate appointment and if he applies, he will get compassionate appointment or in lieu, he will get Rs. 4 lakh as compensation apart from Rs. 1 lakh amount payable otherwise as ex-gratia.
Thus, the Government thought fit that payment of Rs. 1 lakh is inadequate and therefore, a sum of Rs.4 lakh at least be given to the families of the deceased, if compassionate appointment could not be given. The logic behind this rule was that payment of Rs. 1 lakh was inadequate, therefore, the family of the deceased be given a further sum of Rs. 4 lakh in terms of Rule 3(3) of Jammu and Kashmir Compassionate Appointment Rules, 1994 as amended in SRO 99 dated 4th July, 2008. Thus, several persons were offered to accept Rs. 4 lakh as it would be very difficult for the family to meet their livelihood instead of compassionate appointment.
The Court noticed that the soldiers who are permanent residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and if killed by militants, their legal heirs don’t receive any ex-gratia from the State Government.
The Bench further observed that when a soldier hailing from Haryana when posted in Jammu and Kashmir and was killed here, his body was taken to Haryana and Government of Haryana after giving State Honour to the body sanctioned and paid a sum of Rs. 50 lakh as ex-gratia relief to his legal heirs. Similarly to the soldiers hailing from States of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, etc. who were killed by militants while serving in Jammu and Kashmir, ex-gratia relief of Rs. 15 to Rs. 25 lakh and more was paid to their family members, the Court added.
The Court noticed that the aforesaid payment is not being made to the family members of the security personnel (Police personnel/Military personnel, CRPF, BSF) belonging to Jammu and Kashmir who got killed in militancy related activities. The aforesaid action of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in not paying ex-gratia is discrimination to the families of the deceased security personnel, the Court added.
With these observations, the Court issued notice to the respondents to file their response as to why the legal heirs of the security personnel, who lost their lives and are belonging to the State of Jammu and Kashmir are not being paid any ex-gratia by the State Government as is being paid by the other State Governments. The Court directed Registry to list the PIL on 7th March, 2017.
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