Supreme Court criticizes Uttar Pradesh govt for Muzaffarnagar riots1 min read . Updated: 27 Mar 2014, 12:37 AM IST
The apex court says Samajwadi Party was negligent and is failing to protect the fundamental rights of its people
New Delhi: Six months after the Muzaffarnagar communal violence that claimed nearly 60 lives, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Uttar Pradesh state government of the Samajwadi Party (SP) was “negligent" and failing to protect the fundamental rights of its people.
“We prima facie hold the state government responsible for being negligent at the initial stage and in not anticipating the communal violence and for taking necessary steps for its prevention," an apex court bench headed by chief justice P. Sathasivam said.
It also rebuked the central government, saying the violence could have been prevented had central and state intelligence agencies alerted the district administration in advance.
The court was responding to a batch of petitions from riot victims, non-governmental organizations and residents of Muzaffarnagar who alleged that the state government had failed to check the violence and was trying to shield the rioters.
The court, however, declined to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a special investigating team into the riots, noting that the state government had constituted a cell to conduct an inquiry.
“We are conscious of the fact that more effective and stringent measures are to be taken by the state administration," it said, and directed the state authorities to bring the guilty to book “irrespective of their political affiliations".
The court also directed the state government to compensate victims of the riots and give them protection.
“The rape victims are to be paid compensation of ₹ 5 lakh each, in addition to various other benefits, by the state government within a period of four weeks from today," it said.
This judgement, which precedes the April-May Lok Sabha elections, is a blow to the Samajwadi Party whose image was dented by the riots that flared in August-September. Uttar Pradesh elects the maximum number of members to the Lok Sabha—80—and polling in the state will be spread over six days in April-May.