Ordinance for recovery of damagesApprox Read Time: 5 minutes
- The Supreme Court has not stayed an Allahabad High Court order to immediately remove roadside banners displaying the personal details of persons accused of “vandalism” during the anti-CAA protest in December 2019.
- Furthermore, the apex court said that the UP government’s action was not covered in any law.
- Noting that the controversy involved issues which need further elaboration and consideration, it referred the appeal filed by the Uttar Pradesh government to a larger Bench, to be set up by the Chief Justice of India.
UP govt’s decision to put posters of persons involved in property destruction:
- As anti-CAA protests broke out across UP, the UP government had said that it would recover the cost for the destruction of property from those who indulged in violence.
- Later, the government had served more than 500 notices on people across the state after the December violence.
Allahabad High Court decision:
- On March 9, Allahabad High Court Bench, had held that the posters put up by the UP government were a violation of individual privacy, a fundamental right which globally underpins human dignity and key values of a democracy.
- The Court said that the cause in the present case is not about the harm caused to the persons whose personal details are given in the banner but the harm caused to the precious constitutional values.
- It further stated that the cause is the undemocratic functioning of government agencies which are supposed to treat all members of the public with respect and courtesy and should behave in a manner that upholds constitutional and democratic values.
- Calling it an unjustified interference in the privacy of people and a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, the High Court had ordered the Lucknow District Magistrate and police chief to remove the posters without delay and file a compliance report on March 16.
Matter in Supreme Court:
- After the HC judgement, the UP government approached the Supreme Court through a special leave petition against the decision.
- The Supreme Court’s refused to stay the Allahabad High Court order and referred the matter to a larger bench of the court.
- The apex court also noted that is no law to back the Uttar Pradesh government’s action of putting up hoardings naming those accused of violence during protests.
Ordinance approved by UP government:
- After SC’s comments, the UP government has now brought in an ordinance – U.P. Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020.
- The Ordinance would arrange for the recovery of damage to public and private property during any protest, movement or demonstration.
- Although the rules for recovery of cost of damage to property are yet to be framed, the UP government said that posting of pictures and other details of accused in such cases is likely to be included.
Justification for the Ordinance:
- The UP government said that the Ordinance was based on the 2009 order by the Supreme Court in which it said that a “strong law” was needed to deal with the damage to public and private property during political protests, strikes and demonstrations.
- In the 2009 order, the SC had talked about constituting a recovery tribunal to recover losses to government and private properties in political and illegal agitations in the country.
- After SC’s 2009 order, the Allahabad high court also issued a similar order in 2010 which was followed by a UP government order (GO) in 2011.