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AAP defends decision to give Rs 1cr to Grewal’s kin in HC

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Monday defended in Delhi High Court its decision to award Rs one crore compensation and a job to the family of ex-Armyman Ram Kishan Grewal, who had recently committed suicide allegedly over OROP issue, saying it was a “policy matter” which has to go to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) for approval.

The government opposed two separate petitions challenging its decision before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and said these pleas were “premature” and no public interest was involved in it.

“No public interest is involved in this. These petitions are premature. The decision has to go to the LG. If any decision is taken by the council of ministers, it has to go to the LG for his approval,” senior standing counsel of Delhi government Rahul Mehra told the Bench.

He also said the decision was “a policy matter which is under consideration. It is under the domain of government policy”.

At the outset of the hearing, the bench asked the counsel appearing for one of the petitioners regarding the public interest involved in the matter.

“This is a policy matter. What public interest is involved in this and why the court should interfere in this,” the bench asked advocate Abhishek Choudhary, who was appearing for petitioner Puran Chand Arya.

Responding to this, Choudhary said the government has decided to give ‘martyr’ status to Grewal and they should not award compensation like this as it was taxpayers’ money.

“A person who has committed suicide has been awarded. It will promote suicide in the society,” he claimed.

Similarly the other petitioner advocate Avadh Kaushik, who also opposed the government’s decision to declare Grewal as a ‘martyr’, said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should not “glorify” the act of suicide.

After hearing the submissions, the bench reserved its order on both the pleas for November 14, saying “we will consider it and pass orders”.

Retired Army Subedar Grewal had on November 1 committed suicide here, allegedly over the issue of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP).

At the fag end of the hearing, one of the petitioners said the government should be restrained from going ahead with the decision till the court pronounced its order.

The Bench, however, said that everything is on record and it would pass the order on both the pleas on November 14.

Advocate Kaushik, who had on two earlier occasions challenged similar decisions of the Delhi government granting compensation and government job to kin of individuals who had committed suicide, told the bench that this was the third time when the government has taken such a decision.

In his petition, he has alleged that by granting compensation and a job to kin of the ex-serviceman, Kejriwal and his government were “glorifying, justifying, supporting, propagating and consecrating the act of suicide”. He has sought directions from the court to quash or set aside the government’s decision saying it amounts to “misappropriation of public funds”.
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