The Haryana Assembly on Thursday passed a bill seeking recovery of damages to public properties from rioters that indulge in vandalism while carrying out demonstrations. Titled as ‘Recovery of Damages to Property during Disturbance to Public Order Bill, 2021’, the Bill provides for recovery of damage to public properties caused by people during disturbance to public order by an assembly, lawful or unlawful, including riots and violent protests.
Recovery of Damages to Property during Disturbance to Public Order Bill, 2021 has cleared by the Haryana Assembly.@DhantaNews shares more details.— News18 (@CNNnews18) March 18, 2021
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The passage of the bill is particularly significant, considering that it has come against the backdrop of farmers protests that have roiled the border areas of the national capital, including some parts of Haryana. As per the newly passed legislation, the Haryana government has the authority to seek reparations for the damages caused to the public property during a protest or riots. The protesters and rioters involved in such incidents will be held liable to pay the compensation.
The bill also provides for the establishment of a Claims Tribunal to evaluate the damages caused and to ascertain the liability to award the compensation in Haryana. The Collector shall have the power to issue an order of attachment of property or bank account of any person against whom an award has been passed by the Claims Tribunal to pay compensation.
The bill authorises the government to confiscate the property or bank accounts of the offenders till the time they make the payment of the amount due.
Opposition leaders stage a walkout to oppose the bill
Earlier on Monday, when the government tabled the bill in the Assembly for discussion, it triggered a walkout by the opposition leaders on the refusal of their demand for a division on the Bill. Soon after the Bill was tabled for discussion, senior Congress member RS Kadian raised aspersion on the timing of the bill, claiming that it will send a wrong signal amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
Former Chief Minister BS Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition, had claimed that the government authorities had dug up roads to prevent farmers from reaching their desired destination and wondered who will be held liable in this case for damage to public property. Congress leaders asked for a division of the voting in the assembly but it was turned down by the Speaker.
However, the protestations by the opposition leaders elicited a sharp response from Haryana Minister Anil Vij, who sharply questioned the Congress members whether they were in support of destruction of public and private properties, burning of buses or against it.