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2011 blasts: HC asks Maha govt to compensate victims by Wednesday, issues contempt notice

The Bombay High Court today ordered state government to pay compensation to kin of four victims of the 2011 serial blasts within two days even as it issued a contempt notice against the state chief secretary for failing to pay the amount despite a previous judicial order.

"We direct the state government to pay compensation by September 17 to the four victims of bomb blasts that occurred on July 13, 2011 in Zaveri Bazaar and other areas of the city," said a division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka. The judges also issued a contempt notice against the chief secretary to Maharashtra government for not paying compensation despite an order of the high court on August 12.

The bench noted that the state had so far not filed an affidavit confirming that the compensation had been paid to the four victims in the blasts case and also whether there are similarly placed other victims who were not given relief.

"We shall be failing in our duty if we condone the delay in paying the compensation. Prima facie, it appears to be a case of wilful and gross breach of the court order. It is only because of the inaction of the state government that the victims had not got the compensation", observed the bench.

The high court had earlier asked the government to authorise the Collector of Thane to pay compensation to the kin of victims of the serial bomb blasts of 2011 as the victims hailed from Thane district. A series of coordinated explosions had occurred in areas of Opera Bazaar, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar West in 2011 in which 26 persons were killed and 130 injured.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Prakash Seth, a jeweller in Zaveri Bazaar, contending that the kin of four persons from Thane district who were killed in the explosions were not given compensation.

The Centre generally gives Rs 3 lakh in compensation to families of victims who are killed in blasts. It informs the concerned state government to make such payment and the latter in turn authorises the Collector to pay compensation.

In this case, the Collector of Thane said that he was not yet authorised by the state to pay the compensation and therefore such payment could not be made by his office to the kin of the blast victims.

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