SC seeks details of religious structures damaged in 2002 Gujarat riots
New Delhi, July 9 (ANI): Acting on an appeal filed by the Gujarat Government challenging the Gujarat High Court order that directed it to compensate for the rebuilding of religious sites damaged during the communal carnage of 2002, a Supreme Court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra on Monday directed the Modi-government to file a survey report of such sites.
The apex court has also asked the state government to quantify the amount needed for rebuilding and repairing the affected sites.
The Gujarat government contended that the state exchequer could not be used for building and repairing religious sites, but the bench responded by saying that it would decide whether public funds could be used for restoring damaged sites.
"You compensate if a house is washed away in a flood or if it is damaged in an earthquake. Then why not in case of a religious place?" the bench asked.
The court directed the state government to file an affidavit with regard to the religious sites affected by the riots and posted the matter for further hearing on July 30.
Earlier on February 8, the high court had observed that "inadequacy, inaction and negligence" on the part of the state government to prevent the riots had resulted in religious structures being affected across the state.
A high court division bench of Acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala had ordered compensation for over 500 places of worships in the state on a plea by Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG), an NGO.
The NGO had contended that 535 religious places were affected, out which 37 remain to be repaired.
Challenging the HC's order, advocate Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, contended that Sikh religious groups were also seeking compensation for damage to the religious places during 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The plea by IRCG in 2003 had sought the court's direction to the government to pay compensation for damage to religious places during the riots on the ground that the National Human Rights Commission too, had recommended it and the state government had, in principle, accepted the suggestion.
It had said when the government could pay compensation for destruction of houses and commercial establishments, it should also pay compensation for religious structures.
If the structures have been already restored by now, the government should reimburse the amount spent on their restoration, the court had said. (ANI)
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