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PIL plea filed against U.P. ordinance on damage to public property

In this photo of December 19, 2019, police are seen using barricades to stop protestors during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow.

In this photo of December 19, 2019, police are seen using barricades to stop protestors during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow.   | Photo Credit: AP

Petition wants order to be suspended

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking the suspension of or stay against the ordinance brought by the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government for the recovery of damage to public and private property during protests, bandhs or riots.

The plea filed by lawyer Shashank Tripathi prays the court to issue a writ order or direction declaring the ordinance “ultra vires” to the Constitution.

Also read | Anti-CAA protests: 28 in Lucknow told to pay ₹64 lakh for damage to property

“To evade from justifying itself from court of law, the State has played mischief upon the Constitution,” argues Mr. Tripathi in the plea, referring to the questions asked of it by the HC and the Supreme Court in the ‘name and shame’ hoardings episode.

The Uttar Pradesh government recently armed itself with a stringent new law to recover compensation from those who damage public and private property during protests and riots.

Claims for compensation will be decided by designated ‘Claims Tribunals’ that will be authorised to investigate complaints and assess the damage.

The State government on Sunday notified the ‘Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020, promulgated by the Governor, Anandiben Patel. The State Cabinet met under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday and approved the ordinance.

The PIL plea says that the ordinance under question is not consistent and is in contradiction and departure from the ordinance making power of the State provided under Article 213 of Indian Constitution.

Owing to the “quasi-judicial nature” of the tribunals provided in the Constitution, the ordinance talks about judicial activity but without procedural and functional safeguard required at law, the plea says.

It also contends that the ordinance under question has not been promulgated on. As such, the same has got no force as legislature and is redundant.

The ordinance in question, being in excess of competence, is unconstitutional, it further said.

As per the ordinance, the owner of any private property or the head of the office concerned, in respect of public property, may file claims for compensation within three months of any incident that causes any damage during public protests, bandhs or riots. The claim can cite as respondents those who “exhorted” or “instigated” or “committed” acts that caused the damage, as well as those named by the police.

Every order or award passed by the Claims Tribunal would be “final” and no appeal against such orders would be “maintainable” before any court, it said. Also, no civil court will have the jurisdiction to entertain any questions regarding the claims.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:57:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pil-plea-filed-against-up-ordinance-on-damage-to-public-property/article31089618.ece

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