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HC directs govt to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to a victim of cross-firing          

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Srinagar: Disposing of an appeal by the government that a civilian disabled in a battle between the militants and the state forces cannot be paid compensation beyond Rs 25,000, J&K High Court Saturday directed payment of Rs 10 lakhs to the victim.

The civilian has been deprived to practice any profession as guaranteed to citizens of the country under Article 19(g) of the Constitution, a division bench comprising Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul observed after hearing the case.

“Thus, it becomes the duty of the authorities/appellants herein to adequately compensate the writ petitioner/respondent herein,” the bench said.

In 1990, Ashiq Hussain Farash (the victim) was hit by a bullet in cross-firing between security forces and the militants. He suffered grievous injuries and was admitted to SKIMS Soura.  Accordingly, a medical case of bullet injury on the right side of chest and right upper arm was registered.

In January 1991, Farash was advised advanced treatment at AIIMS, New Delhi.

However, due to poverty, he was unable to undergo further treatment at AIIMS. As a result, he ended in loss of movement of his right arm and right hand. Thus he was rendered handicapped for the rest of his life.

Farash then made a claim before the government and sought compassionate appointment in government service besides payment of compensation to the extent of Rs 20 lakhs. The government instead of considering his application rejected it, constraining him to file a writ petition.

The Writ Court in 2016 directed the respondent authorities to pay an amount of Rs 15 lakhs as compensation to Farash.

The government authorities, however, challenged the decision before a division bench.

Sajjad Ashraf Mir, the state attorney argued that Farash was found entitled to ex-gratia compensation of Rs 25, 000.  In July 1990, he was paid this amount by the government.

“The single Judge decision ordering the government to pay farash Rs 15 lakh is against the law and the policy of the government,” said Mir.

Hearing the appeal, Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul found themselves in agreement with the reasoning given by the single judge in holding Farash entitled to compensation.

However, they said the quantum of compensation of Rs 15 lakhs in the given facts and circumstances of the case, coupled with the mandate of the scheme governing the subject appears to be on the higher side.

The division bench disposed of the appeal and Farash was entitled to compensation of Rs 10 lakhs instead of Rs 15 lakhs.  The compensation has to be paid with interest @ six percent per annum within two months.

In default, the court directed the ordered amount shall become payable along with interest @ 9 percent per annum.

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