Damaging public or private property in Punjab during strike, road or rail blockade will now attract imprisonment of up to one year in jail and fine with the state assembly on Tuesday passing a bill in this regard.
Though opposition Congress accused the SAD-BJP led state government of muzzling the voice of protesters with this law, the state government said the law was introduced on the directions of the Supreme Court.
Under the Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill 2014, anyone found guilty of damaging public and private property, can be awarded a jail term which may extend to one year and will be liable to fine which may extend to Rs. 1 lakh.
Anybody found guilty of damaging public/private properties by fire or explosive substance, shall be punished with a term not less than one year but which may extend to two years and shall be liable to fine of Rs. 3 lakh, as per the bill.
Under the law, the definition of damaging act includes agitation, strike, dharna, bandh or demonstration, blockade of rail or road traffic by which any damage is caused to any public or private property.
According to the law, no court inferior to the court of chief judicial magistrate can try any offence committed under this act. The competent authority under the law will be making an assessment of the loss or damage caused by damaging act.