The Karnataka High Court on Friday appointed a retired judge as the Claims Commissioner for assessing the damage caused to properties by the rioters who went on rampage torching a Congress MLA's house and two police stations here recently. Naming retired high court judge H S Kempanna as the Claim Commissioner, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi directed the state government to issue a notification on his appointment and provide him infrastructure such as office, vehicles and staff.
The court was passing orders on the state government's plea for appointment of the Claim Commissioner to fix the liability on the rioters who also set afire a number of private and police vehicles during the violence on August 11 night protesting an alleged inflammatory social media post by Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy's relative. As many as 377 people have been arrested while four people died with three of them in firing by police to quell the mob. In all, 65 cases have been registered in connection with the riots.
The state government on August 17 said it had decided to assess the damage caused to public and private property in the violence and recover the cost from the culprits. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa took to twitter and notedthe high court's order.
"Our Govt approached Hon'ble High Court to appoint ClaimsCommissioner to assess the damages (sic) caused to public &private properties during riots in KJ Halli & DJ Halli,Bengaluru. Today, Hon'ble HC appointed Justice HS Kempanna(Retd) as Claims Commissioner," he tweeted. The high court instructed the state to consult the Claims Commissioner regarding infrastructure that he would need and asked it to fix the remuneration considering his status as a retired high court judge and provide him benefits available tositting judges of the HC.
The bench said the government should give wide publicity regarding the appointment of the claims commissioner and call upon persons whose property had been destroyed or damaged to submit the particulars before him so that he can assess the loss. The state should also supply a list of empaneled list of property value assessors to the claims commissioner.
Directing the government to submit videos and recordings of the violence to the claims commissioner, the bench also said the public should also be asked to submit video footages to pin-point the damage and establish the role of the perpetrators. The government can make a request to the Registrar General of the Court if the claims commissioner needed to summon witnesses or direct production of documents, it said and posted the matter to September 11 for further hearing.