All states should've courts to fix hartal compensation: SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has issued a directive to establish courts in all States and Union Territories to assess and collect compensation for the damage caused to public propety during hartals.
The apex court has also directed the central government to discuss the suggestion with the High Courts and to assign the task to one or more district judges. The bench comprising Justices A. K. Goyal and U. U. Lalit clarified that these suggestions should be included in the amendments made to the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has informed the apex court that the procedures to amend the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act of 1984 has commenced, after discussing with the Ministry of Law. The draft of the amendment has been published in the website of Home Ministry. Further actions will be taken after considering the suggestions.
The SC directive came while disposing of a petition filed by Advocate Koshi Jacob against hartals. He alleged in the petition filed in 2013 that he was compelled to spend 12 hours on road due to hartal, while returning to home after a surgery.
When the court asked for a solution, Atorney General K. K. Venugopal suggested that the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act can be implemented and the victims can demand compensation from those who caused the difficulties.
Jacob has demanded the implementation of the guidelines recommended in the Supreme Court verdict in 2007. The recommendations include video recording of the hartal by police and government, supervision of a police official in superintendent rank, suo motu enquiry or action from the court in case of serious damage and formation of a system to provide compensation. However, a system to grant compensation to the victim was not realized.