After the defacement of public spaces in the national capital during the Delhi University Students Union Election, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressly asked the DUSU, its president Rocky Tuseed, the varsity and other authorities concerned to beautify Delhi on the lines of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and undertake spreading public awareness, by all means, about defacement being punishable with 10-year imprisonment.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal stressed on public at large being informed that defacement is punishable with 10-year jail term under Section 78 read with Section 82 of the DMRC Act and other offences, including sections 268, 290, etc of the Indian Penal Code.
The bench also acknowledged the suggestion out forth by Rocky Tuseed involving taking support of the Aga Khan Trust in the beautification drive to undo the damages caused during DUSU election campaign as he took the moral responsibility of the damages so caused.
Advocate Prashant Manchanda, who had moved court prior to elections highlighting the defacement caused in the name of campaigning, had also prayed for public awareness against defacement.
“The court has specifically directed that a campaign on the lines of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is required all across Delhi to deal with the serious issue of defacement. The court suggested places like India Gate, in and around Delhi High Court beyond the radius of half a kilometre, etc best suited for such awareness drive,” Manchanda said.
He also placed before the court the suggestions he had placed before the parties in the meeting held on October 27, which included all civic agencies, DUSU, DU and had, on its agenda, working out a plan to clean up the defacement.
Manchanda urged that “urgent steps be taken to put an end to the unabated menace of defacement across all parts of Delhi as it is a hydra-headed problem”.
He suggested making announcement qua the punishment involved in defacing public properties with a view to penetrate large public awareness.
His suggestions included introducing an anti-defacement helpline, amending the guidelines of the varsity to incorporate imputations of defacement, barring any candidate found defacing the city from contesting polls, making the offender cough up the cost of restoration etc.