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Govt takes year to respond court’s queries on police firing

Fri, 04 Jan 2008 07:09:00
The counter affidavit filed by Special Secretary to Govt. in November 2007 reveals half hidden truths relating to the claim of the govt. that adequate steps have been taken to resolve the matter.
Ashis Senapati
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Kendrapada, Jan 4 (Odisha.in) The State government took more than a year to respond to court’s quaries on 2006 firing at Kalinga nagar.

The government has filed counter affidavit in response to the first judicial intervention into the matter in a Public Interest Litigation filed by pioneer human right group Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP) of state just after the occurrence of the incidence.

The CLAP filed its petition seeking a status quo in developing the industry until final resolution of the demands of the indigenous people in 9th January 2006 in a writ petition in the High Court. TATA Steel Limited, which is an essential Party, is yet to file its reply.

The counter affidavit filed by Special Secretary to Govt. in November 2007 reveals half hidden truths relating to the claim of the govt. that adequate steps have been taken to resolve the matter.

Even it is clear now that only two persons out of 14 tribal who succumbed to the police firing have been given the ex-gratia of 10 lakhs whereas 12 persons did not accept the offer.

Similarly the declaration of the Govt. for compensation to the tune of 50,000.00 to person sustained injury could not be given to 17 persons because of paucity of fund with the district administration.

 If the Govt. resolution is to be believed then these compensation is a benevolent support rather than the rights of indigenous people who were victims of a state sponsored crime, said Shyama Sundar Das the president of CLAP. 

The PIL of CLAP raised a vital legal question that the situation could have been averted had there been due diligence in time on the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur of National Human Right Commission which was given much prior to the occurrence of the incidence.

 The counter affidavit filed by the government reveals that steps like payment of assistance to the tune of 25,000.00 for each person who lost land and 50,000.00 for house building assistance had been announced, however in a much delayed stage in May 2006 after the incidence had already occurred.

The petitioner Shyam Sundar Das, the President of CLAP observes that the administrative short sightedness in taking the recommendation of NHRC seriously contributed the occurrence of the massacre.

 Das further said that the NHRC recommendation was a clear indication for the administration that the situation was not within the control and instead of taking precautionary measure like imposing 144 under Criminal Procedure Code or even for that matter curfew deployment of a small section of police is not an indication of an efficient administration.

Therefore, Das said, the argument of the Govt. that when people overpowered police then only the Executive Magistrate ordered for firing is not logical and unfounded. No preventive measures were taken before giving the order for firing to avoid occurrence of the incidence, which was a procedural defect.

Meanwhile by virtue of a decision of the apex court in I.A. No. 6/2007 in University of Kerala vs. Council, Principals' Colleges, Kerala and others, the Judicial Commission headed by Justice A.S. Naidu was dissolved.

After almost a year, it is still under consideration of the Govt. whether to constitute a Commission or not.  The counter affidavit suggests that Govt. considers this aspect.

The PIL of CLAP inter allia demanded that a Policy for Rehabilitation and Resettlement be made which seems to have received the attention of the Govt. as the counter affidavit reveals that the Govt. has contemplated Orissa Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy 2006 which was notified in the Gazette in 14th May 2006, after the notice in the PIL was issued by the High Court.


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