Haryana Recovery of Damages to Property During Disturbance to Public Order Bill 2021 was passed in the Haryana Assembly today despite opposition from the opposition Congress. The Bill, pushed forth by the ruling BJP-JJP government, provides for recovery of damages to the property caused by protestors during riots and agitations and the formation of a claims tribunal.
"Peaceful protest is every citizen's right. There are already legal provisions pertaining to damage caused to property. What about the responsibility of the police in not being able to control law and order," asks Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Countering Congress legislator Kiran Choudhry's accusation that the law was being passed to suppress the farmers' protests, Home Minister Anil Vij claimed that the law was on their minds way ahead of the protests.
Amidst demands from Congress to withdraw the Bill, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that protecting public property is the duty of the government, and while the existing provisions of the IPC see to criminal liability, the new law pertains to civil liability.
The Bill reads that there has been several past and recent instances of mob violence where there was large-scale destruction, burning, looting of public and private property, injury or loss of lives during disturbances to public order by an assembly, lawful or unlawful, including riots and violent disorder, etc., wherein both public and private parties incurred loss.
The state government is supposed to take all preventive, remedial measures so that such incidents are not repeated, and public order is maintained. In order to prevent the recurrence of such circumstances, there should be a legal framework to cause deterrence in the minds of the perpetrators of violence as also the organizers, instigators, etc., it says.
Last week, Khattar informed the Assembly that the state suffered a loss of Rs 212 crore from November 26, 2020, to February 9 in the ongoing farmers' protests against the three new Central agriculture laws. "The estimated loss till date can be between Rs 1,110 crore and Rs 1,150 crore," he had added.