MONGRA LAKRA Vs. STATE OF ASSAM
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
STATE OF ASSAM
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UJJAL BHUYAN, J. -
(1.) Heard Ms. KLR Yanthan, learned counsel for the petitioner; Mr. R Borpujari, learned Standing Counsel, Revenue Department, Government of Assam; Mr. SR Baruah, learned Government Advocate, Assam; and Mrs. RB Bora, learned Standing Counsel, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
(2.) By filing this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, petitioner seeks a direction to the respondents to pay her ex-gratia amount of Rs.3 lakhs being the next of kin of victim killed by extremists.
According to the petitioner, on 15.9.1998, a group of extremists with deadly weapons had attacked their village. In the said attack, 10 persons died while several others sustained grievous injuries. 11 of the villagers, including Bijal Lakra, younger brother of the petitioner went missing. In this connection, an FIR was lodged before the Gossaigaon Police Station on 19.09.1998; on the basis of which Gossaigaon PS Case No.167/1998 was registered.
Petitioner has stated that Bijal Lakra was unmarried at the time of the incident whereafter, both the parents had expired. Petitioner is the sole legal heir/next of kin of the victim being the elder brother.
Representation dated 21.01.2006 was filed by the petitioner before the Deputy Commissioner, Kokrajhar for payment of ex-gratia grant. However, no such payment was made.
Aggrieved, present writ petition has been filed.
(3.) Notice on this case was issued on 20.08.2014 whereafter, an affidavit has been filed by the Deputy Secretary to the Government of Assam, Revenue Department (respondent No.2). An affidavit has also been filed on 25.11.2014 by Addl. Superintendent of Police (B), Kokrajhar.
Referring to the report of the Superintendent of Police, Kokrajhar dated 18.04.2007, addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Kokrajhar, which has been annexed to the writ petition as Annexure-2, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that as per the said report, a total of 11 persons were found missing and no trace of them could be found out. In the list of 11 persons, name of petitioner's younger brother appeared at Sl. No.9 i.e, Bijal Lakra, son of Lt. Stephen Lakra. It was reiterated that during further investigation, Investigating Officer made extensive inquiry about the 11 missing persons but found that the aforesaid missing persons did not return to their villages. Therefore, it was believed that the missing persons might have been killed by the extremists. In such circumstances, ex-gratia amount should be released to the petitioner as per Government policy, being the sole surviving next of kin of the victim.
Referring to the affidavit filed by respondent No.2, Mr. Borpujari submits that as per Office Memorandum (OM) dated 6.6.1996, family members of victims of kidnapping by extremists were entitled to ex-gratia payment of Rs.1 lakh. In so far the present case is concerned, it is a case of missing. There is no conclusive finding or material that the victim was killed or had expired. Subsequent circular of the Government of Assam dt.22.6.2004 makes it very clear that family members of persons "killed" by extremists would be entitled to ex-gratia payment. Family members of a person who is missing following extremist violence may not be entitled to such ex-gratia payments as per circular dated 22.6.2004. Therefore, petitioner would at best be entitled to ex-gratia grant of Rs.1 lakh and not 3 lakhs as per circular dt. 22.6.2004.
In his affidavit respondent No.4 has stated that his inquiry report dated 18.04.2007 was on the basis of available record. ;
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