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Bombay High Court directs Maharashtra government to consider 26/11 terror attack victim’s plea for housing under EWS quota

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by News Desk

Recently, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to consider the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victim, Devika Rotawan’s plea for housing under the EWS (economically weaker section) scheme.

A division bench of Justices GS Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwala told the government to consider the matter as an exceptional case and make the order in the view of basic human rights.

“More particularly since it is a victim of a terrorist attack. In our opinion, these are real cases where there would be a need for authorities to exercise discretion appropriately which is otherwise routinely exercised and found to be in cases which we should not be in par with a case as the present case. We urge the Minister to take an appropriate decision,” the Court said.

Devika Rotawan, who was also a material witness for the conviction of terrorist Ajmal Kasab, was shot in her leg during the terror attack at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station. She claimed to have gone through various surgeries and is presently receiving treatments for her ailments. Her brother and father also sustained injuries during the attack and therefore were unable to work for a living.

Rotawan had earlier approached the high court with the housing request in 2020 where the court directed the state government, and housing department to consider her request. But her request for allotment was denied.

She then approached the court again in 2022.

Rotawan submitted in her petition that she has been suffering from poor financial conditions while required to attend the court hearings in the connected matter. She said that she was given meagre compensation and now has no money left to buy a house.

During earlier hearings, Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan, for the State government and Advocate R Bubna, appearing for the Union government submitted that compensation of Rs 13.26 lakh after the 2020 order and Rs 10 lakh after the attacks were provided as per the government policy on compassionate grounds.

However, the high court expressed its concern towards the matter. It observed, “We are quite astonished at the snail’s pace at which the decision is taken that too in a matter which raises issues of basic human rights and right to shelter of a victim of terrorist attack.”

The court finally adjourned the matter by two weeks for the minister of housing to take the proper decision and place it before the court.

Case title: Devika Rotawan v. State of Maharashtra & Ors

Written by Shagun Behal 

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