Paying for the damages



There is no dispute about the democratic right of aggrieved people protesting for a cause. But while doing so, it should be ensured that public property is not damaged which is made up of tax payers’ money. However, in India, an agitation is considered successful only if considerable damage is done to public property. Political parties which protest for reasons of safeguarding the interests of common man, ironically show no remorse when it comes to the loss on the exchequer due to arson and looting, while the common man has again to bear the loss through additional taxes. It is time the judiciary intervenes and frames rules to make political parties or any one resorting to any type of agitation to make good the loss to the damaged public property.

Existing judicial dictates do not seem to be yielding or producing the desired results or are not being effectively implemented. All political parties should be directed to earmark a certain percentage of their funds for such eventualities and the Election Commission of India should have a lien on those funds to recover the losses suffered as decided by the courts. Since the Opposition is planning to continue the agitation on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens issue nationwide, framing of rules assumes urgency. The act of the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh in handing over a cheque for damages is a gesture to be emulated by all political parties (Page 1, “Railways want people to pay for property damage”, December 31).

V. Subramanian,


This move, which is definitely an effective deterrent, should not be applied arbitrarily and selectively to target a particular set of people under the guise of indictment in arson and vandalism. The charged person who is otherwise innocent will be unnecessarily embroiled in long-drawn litigation. The flip side is a clear message that staging a protest is inviting trouble for oneself. Under such circumstances there is a probability that people holding democratic protests may adopt other clandestine ways and means to vent out their anger whose outcome may be more grave.

Deepak Singhal,


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:35:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/paying-for-the-damages/article30446203.ece

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