The Allahabad High Court on Friday stayed an order passed by the Additional District Magistrate, Bijnor on February 24, directing 4 persons to pay compensation for damaging public properties during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow on December 19, 2019.
The division bench comprised by Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Deepak Verma noted that a coordinate bench of the high court had already in Mohd. Faizan v. State Of UP & Ors., Crl. Misc. WP No. 1927/2020, entertained a similar petition and had sought replies from the state government.
In this backdrop, the bench has clubbed the present case with the case of Mohd. Faizan (supra) and has listed the matter for a joint hearing on April 20.
"As a co-ordinate Bench of this Court has entertained a challenge to the notice in Criminal Misc. Writ Petition No.1927 of 2020 and has invited response from the State and the matter is also engaging the attention of the Apex Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No.55 of 2020, we deem it appropriate to connect this matter with Criminal Misc. Writ (Civil) No.55 of 2020 and require the State-respondents to file their respective counter affidavits.
List this petition along with Criminal Misc. Writ Petition No.1927 of 2020 on 20th April, 2020. By the next date the parties shall exchange their affidavits," the court ordered.
Pertinently, the bench has stayed the operation of the ADM's order in the interregnum.
"Till the next date of listing, no recovery shall be made from the petitioner pursuant to the impugned order dated 24.02.2020 passed by Additional District Magistrate (F/R) Bijnor," the bench said.
The Petitioners had approached the high court against the order of the ADM stating that the legality of such notices was already under question before the Supreme Court
Allegedly, the December 19, 2019 protests in Lucknow and other parts of the state caused many causalities and substantial loss to public and private property, including Govt. buses, media vans, motor bikes, etc.
Thereafter, the state govt. of UP issued show cause notices under Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 and under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, to those allegedly involved in the protests
These notices came to be challenged before the Supreme Court in a writ petition titled Parwaiz Arif Titu v. State of UP, WP(C) No. 55/2020.
Therein, it has been contended that the recovery notices, that have been issued pursuant to the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court in Mohammad Shujauddin v. State of UP, Writ – A N0.40831/2009, are contrary to the law of the land laid down by the Supreme Court in In Re: Destruction of Public and Private Properties v. Govt. of Appellant, (2009) 5 SCC 212.
The high court's order in Mohammad Shujauddin (supra) is contended to be contrary to the Supreme Court ruling inasmuch while the Supreme Court put the onus of assessment of damages and recovery from the accused on High Courts of every State, the Allahabad High Court on the other hand had issued guidelines in that let the State Government to undertake these processes.
The state counsel backed the ADM's order stating that even though the Apex Court had issued notices to the State in Parwaiz Arif Titu (supra), it has not passed any interim order and, otherwise also, till such time the validity of the Rules are not doubted by the Court, the proceedings initiated thereunder ought to be brought to its logical conclusion.
Case Title: Javed Aftab & Ors. v. State of UP & Ors.
Case No.: Crl Misc WP No. 4358/2020
Quorum: Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Deepak Verma
Appearance: Senior Advocate Viquar Mehdi Zaidi and Advocate MJ Akhtar (for Petitioners); Additional Advocate General Manish Goyal (for State)
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