Bombay HC urges Maharashtra govt to consider housing plea of 26/11 attack survivor

28 February,2024 02:15 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Bombay HC instructed the housing dept minister to personally investigate Rotawan`s request and make a decision within two weeks.

Bombay High Court/ File Photo

The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to carefully evaluate Devika Rotawan's appeal for housing aid under the scheme for the Economically Weaker Section. Devika is one of the youngest survivors of the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai which killed many.

The division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla, per a report in PTI, noted that Rotawan has lived a life with disabilities and poverty since she was a 9-year-old girl. The court, noting that she lived in slums and was at the mercy of her parents, also said that the compensation she had received in the past was meagre in terms of the hardships she had faced, the report added.

Rotawan has continuously sought court aid, and this is her third try, added the report. Devika, who is now 25, first approached the HC in 2020 following which the government was directed to consider her plea and pass appropriate orders. In 2022, she moved to the court yet again stating her representation was rejected and the government had then said that she was given a compensation amount of Rs 13.26 lakhs on compassionate grounds. The court had directed the government yet again to consider her representation.

After the court was informed on Wednesday by additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan that the state housing department's secretary said Rotawan's representation could not be considered, they expressed disappointment, the PTI report stated.

"Whatever monetary compensation was given to her then was meagre in terms of the hardships she has faced and now there is nothing left with the petitioner (Rotawan) so as to enable her to have a roof over her head," the court said, per PTI report.

The bench instructed the housing department minister to personally investigate Rotawan's request and make a decision within two weeks, the report added and further stated that the court also criticised the authorities' slow response.

"When a genuine case is presented before the department, the same would certainly require more human sensitivity, and basic human rights, and more particularly being a victim of a terrorist attack," the court said.

"We are quite astonished at the snail's pace at which the decision is taken that too in a matter which raises issues of basic human rights and the right to shelter of a victim of a terrorist attack," the HC further stated.

In her plea, Rotawan said that injuries sustained by her and her family during the terrorist attacks made it impossible for them to earn a livelihood and that they are facing financial difficulty and are at risk of becoming homeless due to their inability to pay rent.

The 26/11 assaults in Mumbai in 2008, carried out by Pakistani terrorists, killed 166 people and injured many others. Rotawan had identified and testified against the arrested terrorist Ajmal Kasab who was the only terrorist arrested alive. He was executed in 2012.

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