MP set to be third state to bring law to recover damages from agitators

Updated on Nov 04, 2021 12:31 AM IST

Additional chief secretary (home) Rajesh Rajora said the bill will be tabled in the assembly after the Cabinet approves it. A tribunal comprising a retired judge and an Indian Administrative Service officer is proposed to be formed for the recovery of damages.

Madhya Pradesh will be the third state to introduce such legislation after two other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states — Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.(Raj K Raj/HT Archive)
Madhya Pradesh will be the third state to introduce such legislation after two other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states — Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.(Raj K Raj/HT Archive)
By, Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh government will introduce a bill in the winter session of the state assembly to recover double the cost of vandalised public and private property during protests from the organisers of the stir and agitators, home minister Nirottam Mishra said on Wednesday.

He added the proposed legislation is aimed at preventing violent protests.

Madhya Pradesh will be the third state to introduce such legislation after two other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states — Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Tribunals can pass orders to recover double the cost of damage according to the severity of the case, Mishra said.

Officials said the state’s home department has drafted the Recovery of Damage of Public and Private Property Bill. “The bill has a provision for recovering double the cost of the damaged property from the protestors as well as from the organisers within 15 days of notice. If there is a delay in payment, they will have to pay simple interest,” said an official, requesting anonymity.

Additional chief secretary (home) Rajesh Rajora said the bill will be tabled in the assembly after the Cabinet approves it.

A tribunal comprising a retired judge and an Indian Administrative Service officer is proposed to be formed for the recovery of damages. “The officers of the concerned department for the damaged public property or owner of private property can apply for compensation within 30 days of vandalism. The tribunal can direct the claim commissioner — an additional or deputy collector — to evaluate the cost of the damage. The claim commissioner will be required to submit a report within 90 days before the tribunal for it decide the cost of compensation,” said the official cited above. The tribunal’s order can be challenged in the high court within 90 days.

If property is damaged on October 1, for example, then the claimant has till October 30 to file a complaint, post which the tribunal will have to file a report and order compensation by January 30. The respondent will either have to pay the cost of damage by February 15 or can file an appeal in the high court within 90 days of the compensation order.

The damaged property could be a bike, car, house, office or hoarding . The recovery will be separate from the criminal cases such vandalism could lead to.

Opposition Congress criticised the proposed law saying it is aimed at suppressing protests. “I have serious doubts over the implementation of this bill because the government will use this to suppress the protestors and attack them financially. Like in the past, the government will save its people by giving false reports of damages,” said Congress leader JP Dhanopia.

Ruling BJP leader Lokendra Parashar said the proposed law is aimed at teaching a lesson to protestors who vandalise property during protests without thinking about the losses to the government and public. “The protestors and mob should know their limitations. We are happy that the government is concerned about the public as well private property.”

Political analyst Lajja Shankar Hardeniya said, “This law will be misused thoroughly. How will the government prove whether it was organisers who have vandalised property or some anti-social elements who did so? Now, people will misuse it to create trouble for protesters and it will suppress the right of people to protest.”

“Like the MP Freedom of Religion Act, this law can also be used to target some selected people,” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    She is a senior reporter based at Bhopal. She covers higher education, social issues, youth affairs, woman and child development related issues, sports and business & industries.

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