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UP guv promulgates ordinance to recover property damages during stirs, riots

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on Sunday promulgated an ordinance for recovery of damages to public and private properties from rioters and protesters and to provide for setting up of tribunals to adjudicate claims for damages and recover them.

Titled "the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020" was promulgated two days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath approved the ordinance in a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

It was promulgated four days after the Supreme Court refused to stay the Allahabad High Court's March 9 order for removing the state government's name-and-shame posters displaying photographs and names of the alleged rioters involved in damaging properties during in anti-CAA protests in December last year.

As per the statement of object and reasons (SOR) of the ordinance, it aims at dealing with "all acts of violence at public places and to control its persistence and escalation and to provide for recovery of damage to public or private property during hartal, bundh, riots, public commotion or protests".

The ordinance, as per its SOR, is also aimed at, among others, for setting up claim tribunals to investigate the damages caused and to award compensation related there to".

The governor promulgated the ordinance invoking her extraordinary legislative power under Article 213 of the Constitution which empowers a governor to promulgate it when the state's legislative assembly is not in session and upon his or her satisfaction for existence of circumstances for its promulgation.

The UP Cabinet had approved the ordinance on March 13, a day after a vacation bench of the apex court, comprising justices U U Lalit and Aniruddha Bose, refused to stay the Allahabad High Court's order for removal of the government's anti-CAA stir, name-and-shame posters.

While hearing an urgent plea by the state government seeking a stay of the the high court order, the apex court had refused to grant relief to the government saying that there was no law to support its action.

"The cabinet has approved the UP Recovery of Damage to Public Properties Ordinance, 2020 for recovery of losses of the government and private properties during political processions, illegal agitations," UP Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna had told reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Friday.

"As per the SC decision to constitute a recovery tribunal to recover losses to government and private properties in political and illegal agitations in the country, the resolution to bring the ordinance has been passed in the Cabinet," he had said.

The Supreme Court had on Thursday told the Uttar Pradesh government that there was "no law" which backs its action of putting up posters on roadsides with details of those accused of vandalism during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow.

The top court, while referring the appeal of the state government to a larger three-judge bench on the ground that it needed "further elaboration and consideration", put a poser on whether the Fundamental Right to privacy of alleged protesters can be waived by the state by condemning "them for all times" to come.

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