The high court also asked the secretary of the NEDRCC, which was set up by the Delhi government in April 2020, to file the procedure followed by it while processing applications for claims and award of compensation
The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the North-East Delhi Riots Claims Commission (NEDRCC) to file a status report regarding the details of the claims received by it from victims and the amounts disbursed.
The high court also asked the secretary of the NEDRCC, which was set up by the Delhi government in April 2020, to file the procedure followed by it while processing applications for claims and award of compensation.
It was hearing a batch of petitions challenging an "Delhi government assistance scheme for the help of riot victims" as it provided inadequate compensation for the death of minors.
The Delhi High Court had appointed a claims commissioner vide a March 18, 2020, order, which was implemented by the Delhi government's order issued in April that year.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24, 2020 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
The pleas have also sought enhancement of the compensation being provided to victims of the communal violence in the northeast Delhi.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said the petitioners are persons with various financial constraints and the claims commission ought to proceed expeditiously in this matter.
"It is deemed appropriate to call for a detailed status report from the claims commission¿ The report shall be filed within four weeks," the high court said.
The court, which listed the matter for further hearing on April 28, asked the high court registrar to inform the claims commission about this order.
It said it wants to first see what the commission was doing, before proceeding further in the matter.
During the hearing, one of the petitioners submitted that the office of the claims commission has conducted surveys in some of the cases and the amounts awarded are much less than what has been fixed under the Delhi government scheme.
Advocate Karuna Nandy, representing some of the petitioners, said she was seeking enhanced compensation and has challenged the amount of compensation of Rs 5 lakh awarded to the parents of two children who died during the riots.
Petitioner Ram Sugarat's 15-year-old son died after being hit by a tear-gas shell on February 26, 2020, in the Gokulpuri area, while Rihana Khatoon's 17-year-old son lost his life due to gunshot injury to his head on February 25, 2020, near the Jafrabad metro station.
The school-going children had gone to a market to buy household items when the incidents took place.
Delhi government's lawyer Sameer Vashisht submitted that the NEDRCC has been assessing the claims and added that a status report can be called for complete details regarding the progress made in the applications.
The parents of the two children have challenged fixing of a maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the death of a child in riots while the maximum compensation for death of an adult has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh.
Their lawyer had earlier submitted that fixing the maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the death of a minor during riots while the families of adult victims receive Rs 10 lakh compensation was arbitrary and unreasonable.
"The compelling state interest in awarding compensation to riot victims and their families is to provide relief and rehabilitation, from the loss suffered. 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 plea said.
It sought direction to authorities to award an equal compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of all deceased riot victims under the "Delhi government assistance scheme for the help of riot victims", irrespective of whether they are minors or majors.
The plea also sought to set aside the assistance scheme in so far as it prescribes a maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of deceased riot victims who are minors.
As the two petitioner parents have received Rs 5 lakh compensation each, the plea further sought direction to authorities to grant an additional amount of Rs 5 lakh each for the loss of their children in the Delhi riots.
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