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  1. Destruction of public property: Government all set to ‘safeguard’ political leaders

Destruction of public property: Government all set to ‘safeguard’ political leaders

In a move to 'safeguard' all its political leaders, the Indian Government is likely to introduce the proposed Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) amendment Bill in theParliamentt next month.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: February 22, 2017 7:53 PM
Prevention of Destruction of Public Property amendment Bill, PDPP, PDPP Act, Government of India, Indian Government Indian Parliament. (Reuters)

In a move to ‘safeguard’ all its political leaders, the Indian Government is likely to introduce the proposed Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) amendment Bill in theParliamentt next month. This step is being taken by the govenment to avoid any misuse by the opposition and empower the investigating officers along with the magistrates who examine the evidence at the time of arrest. According to an official, “During consultations, there were strong views about how a political party may misuse the provisions of law and try to frame Opposition leaders who call the bandh, by inciting violence and damaging property, if they are aware that by doing this, they may be able to send their political opponents behind bars.” The government is taking this step after public consultations that include the law enforcement agencies who raised objections. A provision in the bill makes the offence of the guilty non-bailable unless ‘there are reasonable grounds to believe that he (the accused) is not guilty.’

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According to an Indian Express report, a senior government official said, “State police has sought more clarity on abetment of mischief clause as they say it may lead to arbitrary arrests and the provision can be misused to settle political scores.” In their proposal, the Ministry of Home Affairs suggested the payment of damage apart from the jail time that has to be served by a political leader, and this proposal has been accepted by all stakeholders.

Relief can be provided to a leader only is he is able to prove that the crime was executed ‘without his knowledge’ and he exercised ‘due diligence’ to prevent it. The “abetment of mischief” provision in the PDPP Act of 1984 was opposed by the law enforcement agencies. The provision for ‘damage to private properties’ in the Act will not be included since it is already covered under different insurance schemes. According to the 2015 report of National Crime Records Bureau, the PDPP Act has recorded the highest number of cases in Tamil Nadu (1,671), Uttar Pradesh (1,131) and Haryana (529).

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