AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court today ordered the state government to give Rs 90,000 as compensation with interest since 1995 to the family of a man who was killed in firing by the Army during the rath yatra here in 1985.
Justice J B Pardiwala ordered the state government to grant compensation to the family of Umedmiya Rathod, killed over three decades ago by an Army bullet during Lord Jagannath rath yatra.
It held the state government responsible for his death, observing that the Army was deployed to assist the local authorities in maintaining law and order.
"The civil suit is allowed with a decree of the compensation of Rs 90,000 with interest at the rate of 7 per cent per annum from the date of the suit until the amount is realised," it said.
The incident occurred 1985, and the matter was referred to the bench of Justice J B Pardiwala after a division bench of Justice S R Brahmbhatt and Justice Jayant Patel gave a split verdict in 2011.
"According to the evidence of the plaintiff, her husband was earning Rs 700 to Rs 750 per month by doing some petty business. In my view, awarding of compensation of Rs 90,000 as prayed meets the end of justice," the order stated.
The family members of Rathod had first moved a local court in 1986 seeking compensation for his death caused due to the negligence of the authorities. Their petition was dismissed in 1995 following which they moved the High Court where a single bench upheld the lower court verdict in 1996.
The matter was then taken up by a division bench and later referred to the single bench after the split verdict.
The petitioners had contended that the yatra entered Jordan Road on which their house is situated without permission. The government had told the court that curfew was imposed in the area and Army opened fire after persistent stone-pelting on the rath yatra. Several people were injured in the firing.
It said that Army opened fire after the minimum necessary physical force failed to quell the violent crowd.