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SC asks WB govt to comply with its order in Nandigram firing


The Supreme Court on Wednesday ticked off the West Bengal Government for dilly-dallying payment of compensation to those injured in the Nandigram firing incident in March 2007 and directed it to comply with its order.


The apex court made it clear that it had only stayed the Calcutta High Court order directing the CBI to initiate the criminal proceedings against the police officials allegedly responsible for the firing in which 14 persons were killed.


"Despite the order directing the state to pay compensation as regard to those injured, the state has not paid compensation," a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik said.


It brushed aside the contention of the West Bengal Government that those injured while hurling bombs at the police have been kept out of the purview of compensation.


"The High Court does not make distinction. Let us not make any distinction. The issue is simple if anybody has to be paid you show us the list and we will direct to pay," the Bench said.


The direction to this effect came after senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the West Bengal Government, said that where there was a dispute that those people whose arms were amputed as a result of explosion of bombs while throwing at the police were not paid compensation.


However, the Bench said to avoid any controversy, authorities are asked to file a list of persons who have been not paid compensation.


The Bench noted that same was the position with regards to rape victims though the West Bengal Government submitted that payments have been made where there was no dispute.


The High Court had directed the West Bengal Government to pay a uniform compensation of Rs 5 lakh to families of each of the 14 persons killed and Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh to those raped and injured.


Meanwhile, the apex court fixed 2nd December to hear the application moved by the CBI seeking its direction for vacating the stay granted by it on initiating criminal proceedings against the erring police officials.


It had on 13th December, 2007 restrained the agency from initiating further proceedings in the case on the ground that a Constitution Bench was examining whether apex court and High Courts have the jurisdiction to order CBI probe or not.


The Bench noted that since the issue has already been decided that High Court can order probe by the CBI, it will consider the application of the agency for vacating the stay on merits.


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