The Constitutional Court has rejected a request to transfer the full burden of compensation covering all the land affected by the Lapindo mudflow, to the oil and gas company owned by the family of Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie.
Several people including former Airlangga University lecturer Tjuk Kasturi Sukiadi and author Ali Azhar Akbar had filed a judicial review questioning why money from the state budget was being used to compensate a mistake made by the company, Lapindo Brantas.
The Sidoarjo mudflow in East Java — which began erupting in May 2006 after the blowout of one of Lapindo’s natural gas wells — destroyed hundreds of homes, swamped 720 hectares of land and displaced thousands of people.
The company only agreed to compensate victims within the boundaries of the affected area.
The applicants had asked for a review of article 18 and 19 of the 2012 Law on State Budget — which said the Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS) could use the funds from the state budget to compensate the victims whose land in three villages located outside of the map of the affected area were damaged, costs which Lapindo refused to pay.
They said the state budget should not be used to compensate the mistake made by the company.
But the court considered that allocating the state budget to handle the problem created by the mudflow outside the map of the affected area did not eliminate the responsibility and obligations of Lapindo Brantas.
“[The court] declares rejecting the whole request of the applicants,” chairman of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD said on Thursday as quoted by Antarasumbar.com.
The court judge Anwar Usman said the government had shared the compensation responsibility with Lapindo Brantas, adding that Lapindo were still responsible for compensating those who lived within the affected area map, while the government covered the compensation for those who lived outside the map of the affected area.
“If the government did not share the responsibility to solve the problems of Sidoarjo people, they would have been suffering without legal certainty,” Anwar said.
“Buying the land and building outside the map of the affected area as part of the mitigation effort on mudflow eruption is not against the constitution. The court consider the applicant’s request to review [the law] was legally not proven and baseless.”