October 2017 News

Now, Protest Organisers In J&K To Be Jailed For Property Damage

27 October 2017
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: In a move that could apparently have far-reaching implications, J&K governor NN Vohra on Thursday promulgated an ordinance that would make persons calling for shutdowns, demonstrations or other forms of protest wherein properties are damaged liable for imprisonment and fine. An official spokesman said that '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.' The amendment to the existing law has been made to implement the directions given by the Supreme Court in the case titled 'In Re-Destruction of Public and Private Properties vs. State of A.P and others (2009)', the spokesman said. 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. Further, the scope of the existing law which was earlier restricted to public property i.e. primarily government property or property owned by government entities has been enlarged to also include private property. 'As the State Legislature is not in session, the Governor, on the recommendations of the Chief Minister, in exercise of the powers conferred upon him under Section 91 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir promulgated the aforesaid Ordinance, which will come into force with immediate effect.