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The petitioner has submitted that notices were issued even to persons who are not associated with the Anti-CAA protests. Such persons include deceased and bed-ridden persons, the petitioner states.
A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court to quash administrative notices issued by the Uttar Pradesh government for the recovery of damages for loss of public property during the recent wave of anti-CAA-NRC protests.
The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph today issued notice in the plea.
According to petitioner, Parwaiz Arif Titu, notices have been sent without following the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in 2009 and 2018 when it comes to recovery of damages for loss to public property during protests. In this regard, the petition states,
“… from bare Perusal of such Notice it is clear that the persons to whom the Notices have been sent, have not been booked under Penal Provisions and no details of FIR or any Criminal Offences have been made out against them. There is no detail of any crimes committed by them is also against the guidelines by the Hon’ble Supreme Court which say that the such persons must be booked under the various Panel Provisions under IPC and PDPP Act, 1984.”
However, the petitioner argues that this High Court judgment contradicts the Supreme Court’s earlier judgment in IN RE Destruction of Public and Private Properties Vs. Govt. of AP (2009), which was thereafter re-affirmed in 2018 in the case of Kodungallur Film Society & Anr v. Union of India & Ors.
“The contradiction is that while the Supreme Court in 2009 put the Onus of assessment of damages and recovery from the Accused on High Courts of every State, whereas the Allahabad High Court had issued guidelines in 2010 Judgment that let the State Government to undertake these processes to recover damages, which has serious implications.”
As per the petitioner, the element of judicial oversight while recovering damages has been done away with by the Allahabad High Court in its 2010 judgment, which in turn could enable the ruling government to settle political scores in the process of recovering damages for loss of property.
“The Judicial oversight/Judicial security is a sort of safety mechanism against arbitrary action. This means that there is every chance that the Ruling Party in the State could go after its Political opponents or others oppose to it to settle scores.”
The petitioner argues that this is already being witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also having publicly declared that he would take revenge on anti-CAA protestors.
"The BJP led Yogi Adityanath Government in State of Uttar Pradesh is moving ahead on the Chief Minister promise of avenging loss to Public Property by seizing assets of CAA-NRC Protectors in order to take revenge for Political reasons from one Community who is in minority, which means that 925 persons arrested so far for violent protests may not get Bail easily in Uttar Pradesh till they pay up for the losses as they have to be given Conditional Bail only after they deposit an amount equal to the Quantified by Laws. Many of them are not involved in violent protests.”
Titu has also challenged the notices on the ground that even persons who are not associated with the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 have been asked to pay for the damages. Such persons include deceased persons and bed-ridden persons, the petitioner states.
“… the Police had issued Notice in arbitrary manner against a person namely Banne Khan who died 6 years before at the age of 94 years and also sent Notices to 2 elderly persons who are more than 90 years and this reported Nationwide. One of them is 93 years old Fasahat Mir Khan who is bed ridden and another is 90 years Sufi Ansar Hussain who is suffering from Pneumonia. Both these people are members of peace committee to maintain peace in their respective areas and they maintain coordination with the Police. Both of them have been asked to present before Executive Magistrate and to furnish Bond of Rs.10,00,000/- [Rupees Ten Lakh Only] each to get Bail.”
The petitioner goes on to argue that there is total anarchy and a failure of Constitutional machinery in the state of Uttar Pradesh, warranting the intervention of the Supreme Court.
“…there is a total Anarchy in the State of Uttar Pradesh and people are afraid of their lives and property so there is every likelihood that they will not be spared by the Uttar Pradesh Administration if they approach the High Court of Uttar Pradesh. So in order to get justice the Petitioner is moving before this Hon’ble Supreme Court…”
Detailing various reported instances of police excesses in the State, the petitioner argues that,
“The Government of Uttar Pradesh and its Administration and Police are no longer behaving like the arm of a Democratic Government as it cracked down on protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act…"
In view of this, the petitioner has sought an independent judiciary enquiry into the incidents that occurred during the anti-CAA-NRC protests in Uttar Pradesh, akin to the exercise undertaken by the Karnataka High Court.
The other prayers of the petitioner include that the Supreme Court quash the notice issued by the Uttar Pradesh Government in December 2019 for the recovery of damages for loss of public property during the anti-CAA protests.
Further, the Court has been urged to direct the Uttar Pradesh government to follow the procedure as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court in 2009 and 2018, while recovering damages for loss to public property on account of the protests.
The petitioner has also requested that the December 2019 notification be stayed in the mean time.
The petition has been filed through advocate Nilofar Khan, and drawn by Advocates Khushi Mohammed and Anjum Parvez.
[Read the Petition]