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Criminal activities in the name of bandhProposed law to deal with criminal activities in strikes, agitations etc will be brought into force soon by the centre - Hopes Supreme Court.

30th November, 2017

A Bench of Justice A.K. and Justice U U Lalit disposed of the petition under article 32 filed by Mr. Koshy Jacob, a practicing advocate, seeking direction for implementation of guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in Destruction of Public and Private Properties , In Re V. State of Andhra Pradesh and others, (2009) 5 SCC 212. 


On 23rd May 2012, the petitioner was forced to spend 12 hours on road on account of an on-going agitation, to reach his home after being discharged from hospital after surgery. The petitioner brought into the notice of the Court that large number of strikes / agitations have taken place resulting in destruction of public property and also resulting in violation of fundamental right of the people for which suitable remedy is not available to the aggrieved victims.


The Supreme Court appointed committees had recommended statutory amendments for making those sponsoring such agitations accountable and punishable under the criminal law and also requiring preventive and remedial action such as videography of all the activities and grating award for damages. The petition informed the court that in spite of such recommendations, no legislation or speed mechanism has been put in place, due to which he approached the court with this petition.

States and Union of India filed affidavits in this petition. Union of India through their affidavit submitted that the process has been initiated for amendment of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice. A draft has been prepared and published on the website seeking comments of the public and other stake-holders. Union of India has also sent a letter dated 6th May, 2013 to all the States and Union Territories advising the action to be taken as soon as there is a demonstration.

The Attorney General for India has submitted that in spite of the guidelines, situations have been created wherein peaceful agitation turns into violent, causing loss of lives and destruction of public property. At times, central forces are deployed to aid the law and order machinery. He fairly states that there is undoubted need for preventive and remedial measures to be adopted to deal with such situations. A mechanism is necessary to fix accountability of any failure to take preventive steps as well as to provide for punishing the guilty and compensation to the victim.

The apex court observed that the Court could not issue a direction to make law which matter had to be left to the concerned authorities and guidelines were to operate till relevant law was framed. Since no law has been framed even though 8 years have passed after the matter was dealt with by this Court in the aforesaid judgment, the petitioner has approached this court, as noted earlier.

The Supreme Court by its order dated 28.11.2017 disposed off the petition with the observation that "10. In view of the stand in the counter affidavit and the statement of learned Attorney General, we do hope that the law now proposed by the Union of India is brought into force within a reasonable time to address all concerned issues. Learned Attorney General has very fairly stated that the law may provide for speedy mechanism for criminal liability, action for administrative failures as well as remedies to the victims. A suggestion has been made that one or more district/additional district Judges can be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the High Court to deal with such issue either on whole-time basis or on part-time basis, as the situation may require. In such cases cadre strength of the judicial officers may require suitable temporary or permanent increase. This suggestion can be considered in the course of making the proposed law".

The court also granted liberty to the petitioner to approach appropriate forum to take his remedy for his personal grievance.




Read the Order of Supreme Court dated 28.11.2017


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