On Friday (February 11), the Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw recovery notices that were issued to Anti-CAA rioters in the State.
A petition was filed before the Supreme Court by one Parwaiz Arif Titu wherein he sought the quashing of notices issued to alleged rioters for damaging public properties during the violent Anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh.
During the hearing, Assistant Advocate General Garima Prashad informed the apex court that all cases pertaining to the notices had been pending before tribunals, which are headed by a retired district judge, in Meerut, Lucknow and Prayagraj.
#SupremeCourt hears a plea by Parwaiz Arif Titu seeking quashing of notices sent to alleged protestors by the district administration for recovering losses caused by damage to public properties during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) agitations in Uttar Pradesh pic.twitter.com/fUp2uwpo8E— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 11, 2022
Advocate Anjum Parvez, representing the petitioner, had claimed that the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020 was not in force at the time of issuance of notices to the alleged rioters. He also alleged that the notices violated guidelines that were laid down by the Supreme Court on issues of destruction of public property.
The Assistant Advocate General informed the Court, “Now the new act has come into place and there is a savings clause which saves earlier decisions.” The Supreme Court noted that the Uttar Pradesh government had issued a total of 256 recovery orders.
“You can withdraw these orders with liberty to initiate new proceedings under the new act,” remarked Justice Surya Kant. Justice Chandrachud added, “We will quash these notices then and you are at liberty to take action as per new act.”
Justice Chandrachud: How are you bypassing the Supreme Court— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 11, 2022
Justice Kant: Madam Garima this is just a suggestion. This plea concerns only a set of notices in relation to one kind of agitation or protest.
Before adjourning the hearing, the Supreme Court pointed out that the notices issued by the UP govt to alleged rioters for recovering losses were in contravention to SC guidelines. “So you have to show how the errors can be rectified by you,” Justice Kant concluded.
Last month, the Supreme Court sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking explanation on a plea for quashing notices sent to the anti-CAA rioters by the district administration for recovery of damages caused to public property during the riots against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which had gripped the state last month.
Violent Anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh
It is pertinent to note here that Uttar Pradesh was one of the worst-hit by the anti-CAA riots in which Muslim mobs ran amok damaging public property and injuring police personnel and innocent civilians. During the clashes, several minors were seen throwing stones at the policemen and vandalizing properties.
The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier promulgated the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020 to recover damages from rioters. The law states that the State will set up claims tribunals to investigate the damages caused during protests, award compensation, and also cover the cost of action taken by police and administration for prevention of damage to public properties.