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UP govt receives notice from Supreme Court over Anti-CAA protests plea dismissing recovery of losses

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Uttar Pardesh government on a plea seeking dismissal of notices which were issued to alleged protesters by the district administration to recover losses emerged out of damage to public properties amidst anti-CAA protests in the state.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph issued a notice to the state government and directed it to file its reponse within four weeks. While hearing the plea which alleged that notices have been sent in Uttar Pradesh in discretionary manner against a person, who had died six years ago at the age of 94, and also to two others who are aged above 90.

Advocate Parwaiz Arif Titu, a petitioner in the case, has asked for a stay on these notices which have been sent to persons who have not been charged under any penal provisions and no details of FIR or any criminal offences have been made out against them.

The plea was filed through advocate Nilofar Khan who said that notices were based on the verdict of Allahabad High Court delivered in 2010 which violates the guidelines passed by the apex court in a 2009 judgment which was later re-affirmed in a 2018 verdict.

Also Read: Oppostions slams the President's call for CAA as historic law in Budget Session

"The contradiction is that while the Supreme Court in 2009 put the onus of assessment of damages and recovery from the accused on high courts of every state, whereas the Allahabad High Court had issued guidelines in 2010 judgement that let the state government undertake these processes to recover damages, which has serious implications. The judicial oversight/judicial security is a sort of safety mechanism against arbitrary action. This means that there is every chance that the ruling party in the state could go after its political opponents or others oppose to it to settle scores," it has said.

It has also sought a direction to the Uttar Pradesh government to follow the procedure as per the 2009 and 2018 guidelines of the apex court while claiming damages to recover the losses caused to public property during such protests.

The plea has sought setting up of an independent judicial inquiry like the Karnataka High Court to investigate into the incidents which happened during the protests against the amended citizenship act and the National Register of Citizens in Uttar Pradesh.

The plea has claimed that the BJP-led Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is "moving ahead on the chief minister's promise of avenging loss to public property" by seizing assets of protestors in order to "take revenge for political reasons from one community who is in minority".

It further alleged that around 925 persons arrested so far in link to the violent protests, may not get bail easily in Uttar Pradesh by the time they pay up for the losses as "conditional bail" will be given on the basis of amount deposited.

Even before any demonstrations, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had declared that there was no reason for anyone to protest against the CAA and on December 19, 2019, when the protestors and policemen first clashed in Lucknow, "he angrily denounced the protestors" and said he would take "revenge," claimed the plea.

"The government of Uttar Pradesh and its administration and police are no longer behaving like the arm of a democratic government as it cracked down on protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019/NRC. The police on the instructions of the Uttar Pradesh administration used disproportionate force and denied public accountability," it alleged.

In the plea details of instances in the state during the anti-CAA protests are furnished which claims there is "no rule of law" in Uttar Pradesh and there is "complete violation" of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution in order to crack down the protests against CAA and NRC.

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