The Bombay high court has allowed the Central government's decision regarding Mumbai police's bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) personnel to be challenged before it. The Centre had decided not to honour 19 BDDS personnel for their contribution in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case.
A division bench of justices PV Hardas and Ajey Gadkari granted leave to amend to petitioner Ketan Tirodkar, a former journalist who had filed a PIL raising the issue of lack of recognition to the efforts of the BDDS personnel during the attacks.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had, by its communication dated November 12, 2013, informed the state that its proposal of recommending names of the then BDDS inspector Steven Anthony and 18 other personnel has not been approved.
In October 2013, the state had forwarded a fresh proposal recommending names of 19 personnel after the home department realised that the file incorporating its January 2009 communication to the MHA recommending gallantry police medal for the BDDS personnel had been lost during the fire in Mantralaya.
During the terror attack, 20 police personnel had died, but only three senior police service officers — ATS chief Hemant Karkare, additional commissioner of police Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar — have been posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra.
According to Tirodkar, apart from these three officers, 17 more police personnel lost their life in the attack and the BDDS personnel had done an outstanding job by diffusing about 29 hand grenades carried by the deceased terrorists, and thus, all of them should be honoured.
The PIL also stated that "the state should recommend their case for posthumous awards as they too had lost their life. Simply because they were lower in rank, it cannot be a ground for not recommending their names for posthumous awards and they equally deserve the same honour as they also lost their life during the attack,"
The PIL will now come up for hearing in June.