Acting in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling on February 11, the UP government, on Friday, withdrew 274 notices issued to individuals, for recovery of damages caused to public property during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act stir. The Apex Court, had, criticised the state administration for initiating the recovery proceedings under executive orders by the Additional District Magistrates. Justice Chandachud had observed: “… claims of damages have to be adjudicated by independent tribunals presided over by judicially trained persons.”
On Friday, Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad briefed media that the cases will now be referred to Tribunals set constituted under the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Act, 2020.
The learned Bench also directed for recoveries made thus far, to be refunded. Though the state urged the court to direct status quo on recoveries already made till the Tribunals decide the matter, the Bench said that when a proceeding itself is withdrawn, all consequent actions, too, will have to go.
“If the state government has decided to withdraw notices, it’s a welcome move. But the government has done so under the pressure of Supreme Court,” SR Darapuri, a former IPS officer, who too was issued a notice observed. The anti-CAA protests turned violent at some places in December 2019. Some protestors allegedly vandalised and torched public property in many cities, including Lucknow.
An independent probe by a leading daily, published last month, analysed 46 such recovery orders issued by the Additional District Magistrate (Lucknow East) and found a pattern, which showed the administration played not only prosecutor but judge and jury as well to assess damage, estimate cost, bring charges, and fix liability with many of the accused not even getting a hearing.