New Delhi: The Calcutta High Court hearing a PIL filed on the March 14 Nandigram killings on Friday rejected all arguments made by the West Bengal government.
A division bench of the Calcutta High Court, comprising Chief Justic S S Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, calling the police firing unconstitutional and avoidable, ordered the state government to pay a compensation of no less than Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of those killed.
The bench also ordered Rs 5 lakh as compensation for those killed in the violence and Rs 2 lakh to those raped and molested.
When asked about the High Court's order on compensation, Home Secretary P R Roy said, "The government has to abide by the court order on compensation."
The court also directed CBI to continue the inquiry into the incident and submit a report in a month's time.
"The division bench also made it unequivocally clear that it had the power to order a CBI inquiry on its own under Article 226 of the Constitution," Advocate Kalyan Bandopadhay, who had filed a number of Public Interest Litigations on behalf of the victims' families, told reporters.
The verdict comes a day after the High Court lawyers boycotted proceedings protesting the delay in giving the ruling.
"We have boycotted the High Court because the hearing of the PIL filed by the High Court Bar Association on the March 14 Nandigram killing was over in July this year, but the Chief Justice has been delaying the verdict," PTI quoted Secretary of HCBA Uttam Majumdar as saying.
Such was the agitation that the lawyers even took out a procession and demanded immediate action on the matter.
High Court sources told the agencies that the verdict was, in fact, to be delivered on Thursday itself but the death of a judge forced the postponement.
Meanwhile, the state government is trying to rally support on its role in Nandigram, but with little success.
While the intellectuals took to the street against the Nandigram violence on Wednesday, a CPI-M rally backed by government justified the violent.
(With PTI inputs)