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8-yr delay in giving job to Samjhauta Express blast victim’s son: HC slaps 1L cost on Rlys

Delhi high court

New Delhi: Observing that public functionaries should not make “hollow promises” as they would be bound “morally, ethically and legally” by such announcements, Delhi High Court has slapped a cost of Rs one lakh on Railways for the eight-year delay in giving a job to the son of a victim of the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing.

Then Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, apart from offering Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of people who died in the blast, had also said that one member of each affected family would also be given a job in the Railways, the court noted.

A bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and I S Mehta directed Railways to “provide employment to the petitioner (Faryaz) as fresh face substitute in the pay band-1 with grade pay of Rs 1,800 within a period of one month” from May 28, the date of order.

It also directed the ministry to pay within four weeks the amount of Rs one lakh to Faryaz, whose mother Shakina Begum was one of the 68 people who died in the blast on Delhi-Attari Express (link train of Samjhauta Express) on February 18, 2007.

Issuing the direction, the court said,”In our view, when such announcements are made by the government or by any highest authority competent to make such announcements, then they cannot be empty or hollow announcements made just for momentary satisfaction of the public, particularly the victims of such mishaps.”

It also said that these promises are the “silver lining” for such families and “cannot remain unfulfilled”, as otherwise people will lose faith in the authorities.

“The public office holders cannot use these promises in times of distress as a tool for salvaging public outcry and political turmoil,” it said.

The bench was also of the view that when such promises are made those who make them “should be cautious about its feasibility and foresee any circumstances that would be an impediment to its potential practical implementation”.

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