SC pulls up Centre, Railways on Mirchpur agitation
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Centre and the Railways for not spelling out steps taken to recover the loss incurred to the exchequer due to destruction of property and blockade during protests after the Mirchpur violence in Haryana in 2010.
"You want to write off the loss. Three years have passed and you will take many more years. Do you suggest that you will take 30 years? This is one of the incident and so many incidents will take place. We want to know the steps taken by you to recover the loss," a bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda said.
"Nobody wants to take the bull by horn," the bench said while making it clear that authorities are directly responsible if they fail to protect public property.
"Then they are party to atrocities committed to public property everywhere in the country," the bench said.
The remarks were made during the hearing of the matter relating to rehabilitation of the members of the Dalit community who had to leave village Mirchpur in Hisar district after the incident.
Ninety-eight members of the community were booked in a case relating to the killing of 70-year-old Dalit Tara Chand and his teenaged daughter Suman on April 21, 2010.
"How can you say you are going to write off the loss? You should have the guts to recover," the bench said after the counsel for the Centre said he could only answer the question on recovery of loss after taking instruction from authorities concerned.
The bench was told that earlier an affidavit was filed by the Haryana government which had claimed there was an actual loss of Rs 7 lakh and notional loss of around Rs 30 crore to Railways due to the agitation.
The bench also wanted to know from the Centre why it has not recovered the loss from the Haryana government.
The apex court asked the Haryana Government counsel to inform it about the steps taken by the state for implementation of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
"Ask your officer to be ready with all questions relating to the Act," the bench said making it clear that it will seek answer on wide ranging questions relating to the law meant for safeguarding the interests of SCs and STs.
"We will need complete information relating 1989 Act," the bench said while elaborating that it want to know how many special courts under the Act are functioning and number of public prosecutors appointed for the purpose.
The trial in the Mirchpur case was shifted to the national capital.
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