Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday issued notice to the Union Home Ministry on a PIL demanding Ashok Chakra and gallantry awards for all the officers, who fought the terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
The notice was issued by a bench headed by Justice PV Hardas which asked the ministry to file a reply by January 20.
On last occasion, the bench had allowed the petitioner Ketan Tirodkar to include the Union Home Ministry as a respondent. Accordingly, the petition was amended.
The Maharashtra government had informed the court on December 9 that though a proposal had been sent to the Centre for presenting gallantry awards to police officials and members of bomb disposal squads for fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, it had rejected the names.
The state government had recommended the name of police inspector Steven Mathews Anthony for the police medal for gallantry, besides 18 others of the Bomb Disposal Squad. However, the Centre did not consider them.
This was revealed in a letter written by GC Yadav, under secretary to the Union government in the Ministry of Home Affairs, to the state Home Ministry on November 12, 2013.
The letter, however, did not assign reason why the names of police and bomb disposal squad officers recommended by the state for gallantry awards were not considered.
The court had earlier asked the state to inform about the steps taken to honour officials who showed bravery during the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008.
The petition stated that only four police officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and Tukaram Ombale were given the Ashok Chakra award.
"Several other officers like Sadanand Date, Vijay Khandekar and Arun Jadhav also showed bravery during the attacks. They did not lose their lives, but had fought the terrorists," the petition stated.
The PIL further claimed that Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar had not even fought the terrorists.
"The trio was killed in an ambush. If they have been awarded Ashok Chakra, then there are several other policemen who deserve the award more than them," the petition argued.