New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday transferred to itself cases relating to Muzaffarnagar riots that were pending before the Allahabad High Court and said it would monitor the rehabilitation of the riot-affected people.
The apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: "We are examining all the issues. We can't expect the state government to implement a series of directions from the Supreme Court and the high court."
"Till the end we are going to monitor" the steps being taken by the Uttar Pradesh government for the rehabilitation of the displaced people presently living in the relief camps, the judges said.
A total of 48 people were killed and more than 43,000 displaced in communal clashes that erupted Sep 7 and lasted for three days.
The court also inquired whether the people who had left their homes after the violence were returning and if they had been given compensation.
Observing that the number of people displaced due to communal violence was "enormous", the court said: "At this stage, we can't assume that both the centre and the state government have not taken any step, may be (steps taken) are inadequate."
The court said this as senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for the riot victims, told it that in a situation of human tragedy the response of the central government within the the federal framework would not be the same in normal circumstances.
The judges also recorded the statement by Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati that the central government was "fully committed" to providing full assistance to the state government in the rehabilitation of people who deserted their homes in villages.
The attorney general said: "We are extending and ready to extend any support to the state government... (but) we don't want to do (things) on our own which will impede their action."
The court also made it clear that it was abreast with the situation.
"We are reading all the newspapers and seeing these photographs," said Chief Justice Sathasivam as senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan, who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government, opposed Subramanium's move to hand over to the court some photographs depicting the plight of riot victims.
Responding to the allegation by the petitioners that what had been done so far was far from being adequate, Dhawan said: "It is a serious situation. It (communal violence) is a tragedy of India that occurs again and again... it happened in Gujarat."
Taking on the petitioner, Dhawan wondered how putting up tents where stranded people had gathered and converting it into a relief camp was wrong and what could be any objection to it.