BENGALURU: The government is keen on claiming damages from rioters who went on the rampage on the night of August 11, but knows that there is no legislation to this effect. While this issue is much debated, the government plans to put in place a few guidelines to claim compensation.
The law is not silent on this issue, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said. “Since we do not have specific legislation in India, some guidelines will be adopted to assess the damages where there is destruction to property. The government will request the court to appoint a retired High Court Judge as Claims Commissioner to estimate the damages and investigate the liability. One or two assessors could be appointed to assist the commissioner, and their work will be monitored by court. It will be a transparent process,” he said. The Claims Commissioner and assessors can seek evidence like CCTV footage, the rioters’ digital footprint and police report on directions from the High Court.The government is likely to move court in a day or two, Bommai said.
The principles of liability shall apply because the rioters’ link with the event would be established. In this case, the liability will be borne by the perpetrators of the crime as well as the organisation that organised the attack, because the police have material evidence of messages, call recordings and Whatsapp messages, Bommai added. A total of 135 vehicles were burnt, property was damaged and burnt, and the rioters even attempted to set a police station on fire. All this will be assessed and the Claims Commissioner will compile a report.
These are the recommendations of Justice KT Thomas and senior Supreme Court advocate Fali S Nariman, who have headed committees to look into such issues, and these guidelines for recovery have the approval of the courts, Bommai explained.
This is also not the first time these rules are being applied: When KPCC president DK Shivakumar returned from New Delhi after he was incarcerated in an ED/IT case, it was applied to the damages caused. Before that, it was used to extract compensation from Kannada Chaluvali activist Vatal Nagaraj for damage to property.