Fine imposed on anti-CAA protesters in U.P.’s Amroha

Police personnel in Rampur on December 21, 2019 clash with protesters demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Police personnel in Rampur on December 21, 2019 clash with protesters demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
| Photo Credit: PTI

A claims tribunal in Meerut constituted under the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020 has found 86 people responsible for damaging public property during the Anti-CAA and NRC protests in Amroha (three years ago), and directed them to pay an aggregate compensation of ₹4,27,439 to the Uttar Pradesh government, under the new Act. It is perhaps the earliest such recovery ordered under the new Act. The two-member tribunal headed by A.K. Singh also directed the District Magistrate of Amroha to deposit the amount recovered from them in favour of the State government. In the matter, all the persons who have been found responsible for damaging the public property are from the Muslim community.

Under the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020, three tribunals have been formed in the State namely, in Meerut, Prayagraj and Lucknow. The Meerut tribunal has also ordered the administration to recover a total of ₹1,04,620 from 10 people, allegedly involved in the violence during Agniveer protests in Aligarh.

The State government has promulgated the Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Act, 2020 after the anti-CAA and NRC protests to create a mechanism for the recovery of damages during any protest or riots. This Act of Uttar Pradesh calls for the recovery of damage to public or private property during hartal, bandhs, riots, protests etc. from the accused through claim tribunals. Critics have argued that the Act deviates from the normal legal process wherein the burden of proof lies on the accuser (law enforcement agencies). This Act expects the accused to present evidence of innocence from the alleged crimes, on account of simply them being named as accused.

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