February,24,2016: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that strict action must be taken against individuals or political parties that destroy public property during any of their agitations.
“We cannot allow people to burn nation’s properties and hold the country to ransom in the name of agitation,” the SC said.
“Whether it is political party like BJP, Congress or any people, they must realize that public properties can’t be destroyed in agitation,” the SC bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said.
The apex court said it would frame guidelines to punish people who damage or destroy public property. The bench also suggested that people might have to pay for the damage or loss of public property.
Indian industry has said that another pro quota stir, by the Jats in Haryana over the last week, had led to losses of Rs 34,000 crores in northern Indian states.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Hardik Patel challenging sedition charges against him.
The court had in its previous hearing on Hardik’s plea expanded its ambit to examine the issue of damage to public property during last year’s Patel reservation agitation led by Hardik.
As the counsel for the Patidar leader sought adjournment of the hearing, saying that senior counsel Kapil Sibal was engaged in another court, the court said it would hear the matter on Thursday (February 25) indicating that the focus would be on the larger issue of ways to deal with agitators involved in destruction and damage of public property during an agitation.
Gujarat Police has accused Hardik Patel of sedition for an incident in Surat wherein the Patidar leader was caught on camera telling one of his followers that instead of committing suicide he should take revenge on the policemen.
Sibal had said, in the last hearing, that even if whatever Gujarat Police was saying was to be accepted, even then it did not attract the sedition charge.
Hardik Patel is leading the Patidar agitation, seeking reservation for Patels in education and jobs.