Parties taking part in protests cannot be de-recognised: Govt

Parties taking part in protests cannot be de-recognised: Govt

Parties taking part in protests cannot be de-recognised: Govt

 The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that political parties cannot be de-recognised for participating in public agitations and bandhs.

Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, appearing for the Centre, submitted before a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya that neither the Election Commission of India (ECI) nor any court could take away the recognition of any political party for taking part in any agitation, ‘hartal’ (strike) and ‘bandh’ according to an apex court verdict of 2002.

The Centre was responding to a query by the court on July 17, whether political parties indulging in violent agitation leading to destruction of public property could be de-recognised under the existing laws.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by former IPS officer Prakash Singh seeking a court direction to frame guidelines to prevent agitations leading to large-scale destruction of property and disruption of traffic through blockage of roads, highways and railway tracks.

He also sought preventive action against repeat of last year's three-month-long blockade of the national highway running through the state of Nagaland.

The court, which was also hearing a tagged matter relating to rail and road blockade in Haryana’s Jind and other districts, expressed its displeasure over an affidavit filed by deputy commissioner, Hissar saying that he was not competent to respond.

The court was also unhappy about Rs 33 crore loss caused to Railways during the agitations by Jat community members following the arrest of about 100 people for killing dalits in Mirchpur village in April 2010.   

“What is the accountability and responsibility of the state government? Railway properties worth over Rs 33 crore were lost. You must assure us, otherwise we have to ask the chief secretary to explain,” the bench said.

The state government counsel submitted that Rs 33 crore loss was notional and the actual loss was pegged at Rs 7 lakh.

The court, however, asked the state government to file a fresh affidavit through the principal secretary (home), detailing the steps taken for providing compensation to the violence victims.

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