J&K issues ordinance to jail protest organisers

Jammu & Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has promulgated an ordinance that would make protest organisers liable for imprisonment and fine.

"The Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, has led to amendment in the existing law relating to damage to public property to more effectively discourage and prevent the deleterious activities of individuals and organisations which result in damage to public and private properties," an official spokesperson said.

"The organisers in such cases can be punished with imprisonment for a period of two to five years and can be imposed a fine equivalent to the market value of the property damaged or destroyed," he said.

The amendment to the existing law has been made to implement the directions given by the Supreme Court in the case: "In Re-Destruction of Public and Private Properties vs State of AP and others (2009)."

Underlining the "twin objectives" that the ordinance aims to achieve, the spokesman said: "This ordinance has been enacted to make mischief to public and private property due to direct action punishable and to make any person calling for direct action liable for abetment of such offence."

"Consequently, whoever announces direct action in the form of strikes, demonstrations, or other public forms of protests which result in damage to public as well as private property can be punished with imprisonment for a period of two to five years and can be imposed a fine equivalent to the market value of the property damaged or destroyed," the spokesman said.

"As the legislature is not in session, the governor, on the recommendations of the chief minister, exercising powers conferred upon him under Section 91 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir promulgated the aforesaid ordinance, which will come into force with immediate effect," he added.

DH News Service

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