Don`t rely purely on police report to assess riot damages: HC
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government expressed its willingness before the Bombay High Court on Thursday, to withdraw a collector`s order asking Raza Academy, which had organised a 2012 rally at Azad Maidan, to pay Rs 2.74 crore for damages caused to public property due to riots.
The government said it would ask the Mumbai Collector to withdraw his April 16, 2014 order, asking rally organisers to pay damages and instead issue a fresh order after a probe.
A statement to this effect was made by government pleader Aruna Kamat-Pai after a bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil observed that the collector`s order issued on April 16 was not proper and was bad in law.
The matter has been adjourned to April 30 so as to enable the Mumbai Collector to pass a fresh order.
The Court said that the order seemed to have been passed in a "haste" yesterday (April 16) because the hearing in this case was slated for today.
The judges said that the Collector had relied purely upon a police report while assessing damages caused to property. They opined that no effort was made to assess the damages from independent sources like insurance companies.
The court suggested that the state could find out from insurance companies about how many claims they had received and how much these companies had paid out as damages to their policy claimants. On this basis, damages or losses caused to property could be assessed, judges said.
The court also said that in order to assess damages, the version of purely the accused should not be relied upon. In such cases, the version of the victims should also be taken into account, judges said.
These are suggestions made by the court while hearing a PIL filed by Sanket Satope, who sought a direction to the Maharashtra government to recover damages to public properties from organisers of the rally at Azad Maidan, where the riots took place in 2012.
A total of 62 people were arrested by the city crime branch for their alleged roles in riots on August 11, 2012.
Two youths were killed and 52, including 44 policemen, were injured after a rally called to protest alleged atrocities on Muslims in Assam and Myanmar turned violent. The protesters had gone on a rampage, attacking the police, journalists and vehicles.
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