Ahmedabad: Castigating the Narendra Modi government for not placing reports of NHRC on damages and compensation for destruction of religious places before the
state assembly, the Gujarat High Court has termed it as a "grave lapse", violative of human rights.
The HC, in its verdict delivered yesterday, deplored that no explanation was given by the state government for not placing annual and other reports of the National Human Rights Commission on restoration of religious structures before the assembly till today despite receiving them in early 2005.
"Such grave lapse on the part of the state government amounts to clear violation of Section 20 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993," a division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwit said in the order.
The court held that the policy adopted by the state government restricting compensation only to damaged residential and business premises and not extending it to places of worship was violative of the fundamental rights
guaranteed under Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution.
"The policy of the state government taken in defence is one of evading the constitutional responsibility and will bring anarchy in the society, and thus, is detrimental to the establishment of the principles and the tenets of our
Constitution," it said.
The court also said that the policy would give a wrong signal to the citizens that "religious places should take up arms in their own hand because in the event of destruction of those places, no financial help would come from government."
"It will also encourage the religious bigots to destroy religious and other places of worship of the economically weaker section for the purpose of establishing their
superiority over the others," the court stated.
These scathing observations were made by the court while ordering compensation for over 500 religious structures damaged in the state during post-Godhra riots, on a petition filed by Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG).