KARWAR:The Supreme Court on Tuesday admitted a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking compensation for the people of Karwar and Ankola taluks who lost their land to Project Seabird, a naval infrastructure project in Karwar.
The PIL sought that the compensation be released by the defence estate officer of the Ministry of Defence.
A division bench comprising Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya and Justice Vikramajit Sen admitted the plea and directed that notices be issued within four weeks to the Ministry of Defence and other officials asking them to appear before the bench.
Raveendra Amadalli, general secretary of Seabird Naukanele Nirashritara Vedike (the forum fighting for the cause of Seabird Naval Base evacuees), told Express that the PIL was filed in the apex court on January 19 by Supreme Court advocate Devadatta Kamat, a native of Karwar. On September 13, 2012,while hearing 170 cases related to the release of compensation, the Supreme Court had directed the defence estate officer of the Ministry of Defence to pay the compensation within four months. However, when the compensation was not released even after 17 months, advocates - Francis Lobo and D K Naik - who were arguing on behalf of the evacuees, filed a contempt of court case in November 2013. The hearing continued till July last year.
The apex court issued a warning and directed the officer to pay the compensation in four weeks’ time to dispose of 162 cases of the 170 cases filed. Interestingly, this time the compensation was paid on time on August 4 last year. However, the defence estate officer is yet to compensate hundreds who have filed cases in the Supreme Court, High Court and Uttara Kannada district court, Amadalli said.
He added that though the cases were disposed of by the High Court and the district courts in 2010, the evacuees have still not received compensation.