The Allahabad High Court has issued a notice in relation to a plea challenging the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Private and Public Property Ordinance, 2020, introduced by the Adityanath-led administration, reported Bar and Bench on Thursday. The Uttar Pradesh government approved the ordinance on March 13.
A division bench of Justices Govind Mathur and Samit Gopal issued the notices to the state government. Lawyer Shashank Shri Tripathi, who filed the petition, argued that the ordinance deserved to be struck down as it was inconsistent with fundamental right under Part-III of the Constitution.
“Having considered the arguments advanced and also of the facts and grounds referred in the petition for writ, we consider it appropriate to have a counter affidavit to have adequate response by the State of Uttar Pradesh,” the court said. “The State of Uttar Pradesh thus is directed to file a counter to the petition on or before 25th March, 2020.” The case will be heard again on March 27.
The plea also contended that a person’s right to privacy would be seriously affected due to the ordinance. This was argued on the basis of the ordinance which said that after a Claims Tribunal passed an order for recovery of damages, the names, addresses and photograph will be published.
The petitioner highlighted that the ordinance will operate in the field occupied by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. The ordinance was against the Supreme Court’s order in Rojer Mathew vs South Indian Bank Limited, where the purview of the tribunals’ powers were explained, the court said, according to The Hindu.
The court also described the ordinance as “arbitrary in its very nature” while passing the order. “According to learned counsels, provisions of the ordinance shall allow the persons to be viral for public at large as criminal without their adjudication for any criminal charge,” the judges said.
Meanwhile, amid the coronavirus outbreak, the High Court on Wednesday asked the state not to take any coercive steps against any individual that could force them to move the court for legal remedies. The court’s instructed the state administration to follow its order for two weeks till April 6, reported Live Law.
The bench said the directives were necessary in light of the rising cases in the country due to the pandemic. “If still we remain oblivious to the fatal effect of the COVID-19, it would result into a panic situation in the society as while people should be more concerned of health issues,” the court said.
The Adityanath government had approved the ordinance a day after the Supreme Court told it that there was no law against putting up hoardings with names, photographs and addresses of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors. A two-judge vacation bench was hearing a special leave petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government against the Allahabad High Court order to remove the hoardings in Lucknow.
On March 12, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the Allahabad High Court verdict, but referred the matter to a three-judge regular bench. The hoardings had photos, names and addresses of 53 people, including activist Sadaf Jafar, former bureaucrat SR Darapuri, Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, human rights activist Mohammed Shoaib and theatre personality Deepak Kabir.