SC orders compensation in 26-year-old rioting case

SC orders compensation in 26-year-old rioting case

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each to family members of three deceased persons and Rs 10 lakh each to five injured in a 26-year-old rioting case that took place in Gujarat's Amreli.

The top court directed that compensation has to be paid in accordance with the principles of public law, saying “the case is a classic illustration of how the state failed in its primary constitutional responsibility of maintaining law and order by its effectiveness in the enforcement of criminal law.”

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul noted the trial against two accused, conducted separately after they had absconded in the matter, was “erroneous” as no evidence was recorded independently from the other convicts in the case.

The court said the matter could be sent for trial again but after a lapse of 26 years, it would not be safe as it was not sure if witnesses were available and whether they would be able to record the evidence.

It found various reasons for the failure of the Criminal Justice System-- like the inefficiency of public prosecutors, corruption and political interference, among others.

“If in a case like on one hand where three people were killed and more than five were injured, if charges are not framed in accordance with the mandate of law, the blame must be squarely taken by both the bar and the bench,” the court said in its judgement on an appeal filed by Vinubhai Ranchhodbhai Patel.