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New Delhi: With over 28 months having lapsed since the North-East Delhi communal violence in February 2020, the Central Information Commission recently directed the Delhi government to provide a riot victim, Abrar Husain, with information on the documents which formed the basis of the Rs 50,000 compensation he received for a loss of over Rs 4 lakh to his residential property. Also, the victim had claimed that he had not received any compensation for the damage caused to his car in the riots.
As the case highlighted how the victims, who were mostly from the minority community, have not been paid adequate compensation, Central Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar noted in his order that “the appellant’s is a genuine case” of seeking justice. He therefore directed the district magistrate of North East Delhi, Geetika Sharma, “to look into the matter in accordance with the extant guidelines of the RTI Act 2005”.
Mahurkar also directed that if needed, Husain may be called for a proper hearing on his case saying this would be “adhering to the law of natural justice”.
As Husain had also noted in his appeal that his burnt house and car were still lying in the same situation, the CIC also noted that “the damage suffered can be reassessed”. The application had mentioned that Husain’s house, which was damaged, was located in Milan Garden area of Sonia Vihar, Karawal Nagar.
Husain had in his petition filed on December 12, 2020, sought copies of all material, documents, file notings, survey reports, minutes of meeting and assessment reports relied upon or considered by the sub-divisional magistrate of Karawal Nagar in arriving at the compensation order through which he was awarded only Rs 50,000 for damage to his residential property. Also, the victim had stated that he had not received any amount for the damage to his Hyundai Santro car which too was damaged in the February 2020 communal riots.
The order of compensation was issued under the title of `Disbursement of Compensation to Riot Victims in Karawal Nagar Sub-Division District, North East Delhi’ and was put up on the Delhi government’s website.
Not satisfied with the response of the Central Public Information Officer at the SDM office and the First Appellant Authority, Husain had filed a second appeal at the Commission.
During the hearing in the Commission on June 29, Husain reiterated his reasons for filing the application. Mahurkar recorded in his order that the appellant said “he had received less than the eighth part of the total damages that he suffered” and which were to the tune of over Rs 4 lakh.
Further, the CIC recorded Husain as saying that “no information has been furnished to him yet”. He also submitted that “even today the burnt house and the car are lying in the same situation and hence the loss can be re-evaluated”.
Mahurkar also recorded Husain’s lament in which he told the Commission that “he did small works like time-fixing in the construction industry but ever since the riots he has been without work”.
The Commissioner also wrote in the order how “both the appellant and his wife, who had accompanied him, became emotional while narrating their woes”.
As for the respondent SDM, the order stated that the official remained absent during the hearing and could not be contacted despite repeated efforts by the Commission.