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SC: Can parties be derecognised for damage to property?

Can a political party be derecognised for leading violent agitations that ultimately result in the destruction of public property?

delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2012 23:14 IST
Bhadra Sinha

Can a political party be derecognised for leading violent agitations that ultimately result in the destruction of public property?

This was the question the SC posed to the Centre on Tuesday while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) concerning the destruction of property belonging to public institutions, such as the Railways.

A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi gave the government a week to respond to the query, also telling it to explain if it could be done under existing laws. It also wanted to know if the state should compensate the Railways in the case of damage caused during a blockade.

The PIL, filed by former IPS officer Prakash Singh, wanted the government to frame guidelines for preventing agitations that cause large-scale destruction of property and disrupt traffic through blockage of roads, highways and railway tracks.

Singh’s petition is being heard along with another case involving rail and road blockade by Jat protestors in Jind district of Haryana last year. The protests led to substantial destruction of railway property.

Even as the court posed its question to the government counsel, the Centre submitted its suggestions for resolving such crises in a time-bound manner, and bringing people indulging in such activities to justice.

One such suggestion recommended the judiciary’s intervention in case the State or Centre fails to remove the blockade within five days.

Solicitor general Rohinton Nariman told the bench that the high court would examine the efforts made by the administration at various levels and fix responsibility for failure. The high court could also call upon the delinquent officers to explain their conduct and issue appropriate orders, he added.