A PIL has been filed before the Allahabad High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Public and Private Property Damages Recovery Ordinance, 2020.
The petition has been filed by two practicing Advocates of the High Court along with a social activist and a journalist, stating that the Ordinance fails its objective of "de-escalation of violence".
"The impugned Ordinance in the Preamble, supra, professes to deal with 'acts of violence at public places and to control its persistence and escalation,' however, contains no provision apart from ones dealing with 'Recovery of damage to public or private property…," the plea states.
The impugned Ordinance was promulgated in March this year to establish a legal machinery for recovery of damages from the alleged wrongdoers, for destruction/damaging of public and private property, and also provides for publication of personal details.
The Petitioners, through Advocates Shashwat Anand and Ankur Azad, state that this field is already covered by the Prevention of Damages to Public Property Act, 1984, and that the impugned Ordinance is repugnant to the same, and as such is void to the extent of repugnancy under Article 254 of the Constitution.
It has been referred to as the "Name-and-Shame" Ordinance by the Petitioners inasmuch as Section 13 of the Ordinance prescribes for publication of an accused person's personal details, in case of his non-appearance before the Claims Tribunal.
"The Ordinance provides for publication of names, photographs and addresses of persons under S. 13 and S. 19(2), which is an unwarranted assault on the individual's right to live with basic human dignity and the right to privacy and further is like an invitation to lynch," the Petitioners assert.
The plea further agitates creation of the Claims Tribunal under the Act, on two grounds:
"S. 7(2) is designed in such a way so as to trench upon the field of the judiciary which is against the doctrine of separation of powers which is basic structure of our Constitution," the Petitioners have submitted.
Other grounds taken by the Petitioners include:
The Petitioners therefore seek that the Ordinance be declared as unconstitutional and void.
The plea has been drawn by Advocates Faiz Ahmad, Chintan Nirala, Devesh Saxena and Santosh Yadav.
Notably, the ordinance was promulgated on March 15, after the Allahabad HC came down on the UP administration for erecting banners in public places displaying the names, photographs and addresses of persons accused of committing violence during anti-CAA protests.
Advocate Shashank Shri Tripathi, who has also challenged the Ordinance in a separate writ petition, asserts that the Ordinance is an attempt to give "post-facto validity" to the recovery notices issued by adjudicating authorities to anti-CAA protesters.
Notices were issued in that case in March this year, with a direction to the UP Government to file its reply.
Recently, the High Court asked the UP Government to explain under what law it had issued "unilateral" recovery notices to individuals alleged to be involved in the anti-CAA protests, while hearing the plea of former IPS officer SR Darapuri.
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