BSF pulled up for not paying compensation

HC issues showcause notice to the paramilitary force

 The Border Security Force (BSF) had to face the wrath of the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday for denying compensation to an ex-serviceman, whose wife died in an attack on the military camp where the family was residing in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna termed the BSF stand as ‘inhuman’ and issued show cause notice to the BSF asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for not following the earlier court orders in the case.

Ex-serviceman M Munirajappa, a resident of Yelahanka in Bangalore, had joined BSF as sepoy in 1985.

In 1994, he was posted to the forward post at Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir. As there were family quarters for all ranks at the post, Munirajappa obtained a “married accommodation” and took his wife and two children to stay with him.

However, tragedy struck them at around 2 am on July 13, 1999, when armed militants entered the camp and fired indiscriminately. While the attack left Munirajappa disabled, his wife, who was at home, died during the firing and their children were injured.

Claim rejected

Subsequently, Munirajappa claimed for ex gratia but the BSF rejected it. When he challenged the same in a court in 2001, the court rejected the BSF’s claim and directed it to reconsider the matter. He renewed his representation the same year and sought Rs 7.5 lakh compensation.

But, BSF did not give compensation stating that payment of ex gratia is contemplated on a strict int­er­pretation of the relevant rule which states that families of civilian employees killed after being kidnapped by militants, terrorist and extremists, either because of their official position or with an intention to spread terror, are entitled for compensation.

Therefore, compensation cannot be paid in Munirajappa’s case as his wife was not kidnapped, the BSF maintained.

Not acceptable

When Munirajappa approached the High Court, Justice Anand Byrareddy, in his order, observed that the contentions raised by the BSF cannot be accepted.

Later, the BSF filed a petition before the Division Bench challenging the single Bench order and, stated that they cannot pay compensation.

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