HC directs payment of Rs 17 lakhs to copper smith’s family

HC directs payment of Rs 17 lakhs to copper smith’s family  
Asif Iqbal
Srinagar, June 9: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has upheld its single bench’s order, directing railway police to pay over Rs 17 lakh as compensation to the family of a copper smith killed six years ago in southern Kashmir’s Pulwma district.
The coppersmith, A R Reshi, was pulling down shutter of his shop in August 2010 when Railway Special Protection Force (RSPF) allegedly opened fire which hit him on the head.
“Insofar as the award of Rs. 5 lakhs apart from the loss of income, the Single Judge is justified in awarding the same considering the fact that amount has been quantified not only for treatment but also for allied expenses i-e. nourishment, expenses of the persons attending the injured person so long as he was in the bed, consortium to the petitioner, loss of love and affection to all the petitioners, funeral expenses etc. In any event, the amount though could have been assessed on different heads, the Single Judge has quantified at Rs. 5 lakss in lump sum which is not higher at all. Thus a total sum of Rs. 17,60,000/- was awarded with 9% interest per annum till it is deposited with further order that an amount of Rs. 5,60,000 shall be released in favour of the (victim family),” a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice D S Thakur according to Kashmir Glory said and directed northern railways to pay the compensation within four weeks.
Following Reshi’s hospitalization at SKIMS and before his death on June 11, 2011, complications like nervous breakdown, nephrological disorder and bed sores reduced Reshi to vegetative state (coma) for nearly a year. His family lost all it had on treatment of the victim.
Wife of the victim, Sara, along with her daughter Kuhshbo (11) and son Momin Rashid approached High Court through Advocate Mir Shafaqat Hussain for the compensation.
In response, Railway Protection Force pleaded that it opened fire to disperse an unruly mob that was hell-bent to harm them and the deceased was not their target. The court said, “The explanation offered may exonerate the personnel who opened fire from any criminal liability or departmental action, but is not to disentitle the petitioners from compensation due to them on account of untimely and tragic death of their only bread winner as also compensation on account of medical expenses incurred on his treatment,” the single bench of the court had said.