A tribunal in Uttar Pradesh has initiated fresh proceedings against people accused of damaging public property during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The Claims Tribunal of the Lucknow zone has issued notices to several persons in relation to the cases. Uttar Pradesh Advocate General Raghvendra Singh confirmed that the tribunal had started fresh proceedings.
This comes merely a fortnight after the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court that it had withdrawn 274 recovery notices given to protestors. The notices were issued before the enactment of the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2021.
The law states that protesters found guilty by claims tribunals of damaging government or private properties will face imprisonment of one year or a fine ranging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 1 lakh.
The Uttar Pradesh government withdrew the notices after the Supreme Court on February 11, said that they had not been issued in accordance with its directions given in a 2009 case.
In a later hearing of the matter on February 18, the Supreme Court had taken note note of the Uttar Pradesh government’s submission that it would refund the amount collected as fines for damage of property. The court, however, allowed the government to proceed with action against the protestors under the new law.
The fresh notices have been issued based on that order.
Out of the 274 persons who had earlier been issued the notices, 21 were from Kanpur. All of them have received fresh notices from the tribunal, according to The Indian Express. At least two persons in Lucknow also reportedly got the notices.
“We will be filing the objections to the notices in the Claims Tribunal,” Najmu Saqib, the lawyer for the accused persons from Kanpur told the newspaper. “Due to some technical issues, we could not submit the objections [on Tuesday], but a fresh date has been assigned and we will do it on that day.”