Shiv Sena leader Sitaram Dalvi will have to pay Rs 5.8 lakh by March 8, as compensation for damage caused to Hotel Intercontinental [now, Hotel Inter Continental The Lalit], Sahar, during a political protest in January 2009.
The Bombay High Court on Friday asked Dalvi, former legislator, to deposit the fine by 5 pm on March 8 and rejected his application seeking a stay
on the order of the suburban collector imposing the fine on him.
“It is not about money. It is about principle. Such activities should be stopped,” said Justice Ranjana Desai.
“You can't go on damaging public property. Ultimately we have to pay the tax.”
Two days ago, Dalvi had argued that his party be made to pay compensation because he was not the only one protesting. The court had given him time until Friday to sort the matter out with his party.
Dalvi’s lawyer, S.S. Kulkarni, informed the court that they were unable to speak to party leaders because they did not have enough time. He said Dalvi will deposit the money instead.
“Even if we have to pay crores, we will hold such agitations when necessary. I will personally pay the fine,” Dalvi said after the hearing.
He said he decided to pay because his party had done a lot for him.
Additional Public Prosecutor, Usha Kejariwal, said it is not just the party, but also the organisers who have to bear the liability for damaging public property. Citing a Supreme Court judgment, Kejariwal said, "The liability will be borne by the actual perpetrators of the crime as well as the organisers of the event giving rise to the liability."
The collector has been asked to initiate recovery proceedings if Dalvi fails to deposit the money by Monday.
Kulkarni sought a month's time to deposit the money, but the court rejected his request. Dalvi had also challenged the constitutional validity of certain sections of Bombay Police Act giving powers to police.
The court has admitted the petition and sought the Advocate General's assistance.