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SC asks UP, Haryana to decide compensation to railways



Updated On - Monday, 26 August 2013

25 July 2013

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to force states which fail to prevent mobs from vandalizing public property to pay compensation and directed Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to decide within four weeks their liability on the Rs 73 crore bill raised by railways for the loss caused to it during the Jat agitation in 2011.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda said there was no implementation of the apex court's 2009 judgment mandating states to recover the cost of damage caused to public property during agitations.

We think there should be continuous mandamus on the issue of destruction of public property by mobs and protestors. We do not want to do it. But what choice the court has when public authorities entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding public property do not do anything to protect these," it said.

When senior advocate Colin Gonsalves recounted how a political party in Mumbai goes on rampage smashing auto-rickshaws and taxis from time to time, Justice Singhvi recounted an incident in Andhra Pradesh when protestors burnt 89 buses on a single day. Additional solicitor general Rakesh Khanna joined in and expressed anguish at the lack of awareness among people that it was their own property which got damaged during the agitations.

On the orders of the court, which had taken a strong view of Jats blocking rail traffic while demanding OBC tag for the community, the railways had set up a committee and assessed the actual and notional damage at Rs 40 crore in UP and Rs 33.95 crore in Haryana.

Haryana additional advocate general Manjit Singh Dalal said the actual loss caused to railways in the state was only a little over Rs 7 lakh while the rest was notional. But the court directed railways to file its demand for damages before the Claims Tribunal within a week and directed the latter to decide it in four weeks.

In case of Uttar Pradesh, the court said if the state had not set up a Claims Tribunal, then the railways will send the demand for compensation to the chief secretary, who should decide it in four weeks.

Published by: The Times Of India

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