HC asks ex-Sena MLA to deposit Rs 5 lakh for damaging hotel

The Court said that holding protests and bandhs was a Constitutional right but destruction of public and private property and vandalism was not permissible.

Sitaram Dalvi, the former MLA, was on Thursday asked by the High Court to contact his party "bosses" and find out if they were ready to bear the cost of damages.However, Dalvi on Friday told the court that he could not contact his party chief or seniors due to lack of time.

Following this, the division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Mridula Bhatkar directed Dalvi to deposit the money by March 8."This is not a question of money but is a question of what signal should go to the people. This breaking of property, burning buses and trains must be banned," Justice Desai remarked.

Dalvi was directed by the Collector to pay Rs 7.88 lakh for the damage caused at Hotel Intercontinental in January last year during a protest held by over 500 Sena workers over labour-related issues. He had approached the HC seeking a stay on the Collector's order. He had earlier deposited Rs 2 lakh.

When Dalvi's lawyer Advocate Shriram Kulkarni asked for some time to pay the balance Rs 5.88 lakh, Justice Desai sarcastically asked: "Are you suggesting it is difficult ?...What is so great about it?"

The court also cited a Supreme Court judgement in 2009 where it laid down guidelines for recovering damages from organisers of political agitations, bandhs, etc.

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