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Defacing Delhi For DUSU Polls: HC Issues Notices To Candidates

A day before the Delhi University goes to poll for its students union, the Delhi High Court has issued show cause notice to all candidates in the fray over a PIL showing how the campaign had left Delhi and its public property defaced, some with permanent scars, so to speak.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal issued show cause notices to NSUI’s presidential candidate Rocky Tuseer, his ABVP counterpart Rajat Choudhary, Ankit Basoya, Shakti Singh, Parth Rana and Swami.

They will have to tell the bench on September 20 as to why action should not be taken against them for defacing public property.

The show cause notices were issued after advocate Prashant Manchanda, who filed the petition against the defacement of Delhi for the sake of DUSU polls, brought to the court’s attention how spray paints used on Metro stations have caused permanent defacement.

Manchanda said the defacement was a violation of Section 78 of the DMRC Act, which carries a maximum imprisonment of ten years.

Earlier, the court had held that such defacement warrants action.

All municipal agencies were asked to ensure against such defacement.

On Monday, Manchanda placed before the bench the latest photographs taken by the petitioner which showed no improvement in the ground reality despite court’s order.

He told the court that “in order to check the compliance of order passed by this Court, the petitioner carried out an extensive research wherein it was found that in spite of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation cleaning up a few selected areas such as Bus Stops, public walls in and around the area of University of Delhi, the same are again defaced and spray painted in a flash adding to the already overburdened public exchequer entailing humongous losses to the tax payer’s money”.

He prayed to the court that “having regard to the hydra-headed problem pertaining to the abominable defacement and public nuisance unleashed unabatedly by the prospective candidates at the instance of student political outfits, immediate punitive actions be taken against the candidates and the political outfits in the context of the Defacement Act and the Indian Penal Code, including imposing heavy fines on these outfits directly for the enormous losses engendered on the exchequer”.

The court sought to know if any action has been taken against the candidates and the parties; the authorities could not provide any satisfactory answer.

“The offences are cognisable, non-bailable and liable for imprisonment and a message should go to public at large. The Deputy Commissioner of Police concerned shall inform the court against whom police has taken action,” said the bench as it expressed its disquiet over police inaction against violators.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the north campus of Delhi University had pamphlets strewn all around. There were students who had formed groups to collect paper waste from colleges like the law faculty.

Spray paint could be seen on the walls of Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station and on pillars of various other stations.

Some walls were cleared of posters, but patches remained.

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