Banners displaying anti-CAA protesters
Banners displaying anti-CAA protesters|Shivani Sharma
Litigation News

Allahabad HC pushes date to comply with order to remove "name and shame" banners in view of State's pending appeal before Supreme Court

On pleas moved by State authorities, the Court has now extended the time to comply with its March 9 order till April 10.

Meera Emmanuel

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday pushed the date for complying with its earlier directive to remove banners bearing the names and photographs of persons alleged to have caused damage to property during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow to April 10.

The Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha extended the time given to comply with its March 9 order, after taking note of the State's submission that an appeal filed against the High Court order is pending before the Supreme Court.

In view of the same, the Bench directed,

"Having considered the facts stated in the application and the affidavit annexed there to, at this stage we deem it appropriate to extend the time for filing the compliance report upto 10th April, 2020."
Allahabad High Court

[Read the Order]

In-Re Banners Placed On Road Side In The City Of Lucknow - March 17 order.pdf
Preview

The controversy concerns banners but up by the Uttar Pradesh Government, displaying pictures of accused persons who had allegedly caused damage to public property during the anti-CAA-NRC protests that took place on December 19, 2019.

The personal details of over 50 accused, mentioning that they are "Joint and Severally" liable to pay Rs. 64,37,637/- to the government were thereby exhibited.

On March 8, a Sunday, the High Court had convened an special hearing after taking up the matter suo motu, when the Court pulled up the state authorities for putting up the hoardings. The following day, the Court directed the Government to take down the controversial banners, concluding that the same was unconstitutional.

An appeal challenging this ruling was heard by a Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court days later. Whereas the Court orally observed that the Government's actions, for the present, appeared to be without any legal backing, it did not decide on the matter. Rather, the Division Bench decided to refer the matter to a larger Bench.

Accordingly, it was directed that the file to be placed before the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, so that a Bench of sufficient strength may be nominated to hear the matter in the week commencing on March 16, Monday.

In the meanwhile, however, the top Court did not stay the Allahabad High Court's order.

All the same, the Government went on to pass the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Private and Public Property Ordinance, 2020, which provides for publishing details of persons found responsible for property damage during the riots.

The ordinance envisions the setting up of Claims Tribunals, which will adjudicate on complaints of damage to both public and private property caused during riots. Section 19(2) of the Ordinance states once a Claims Tribunal passes an order for recovery of damages, the name, address and photograph of the person found responsible shall be published.

However, the ordinance has also now been challenged in the Allahabad High Court as a move by the state government “to evade from justifying itself from court of law”. The petitioner further contends that by passing such and ordinance, “the State has played mischief upon the Constitution”.

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