Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017

The Jammu and Kashmir government has promulgated an ordinance that says people calling for strikes and demonstrations — if they result in damage to public or private property — can be jailed for two to five years and fined a sum equivalent to the market value of the property damaged or destroyed.

Since the state legislature is not in session, Governor NN Vohra, on the recommendations of the Chief Minister, promulgated the Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017. It has come into force with immediate effect.

Strife-torn Kashmir has witnessed a series of separatist-sponsored agitations in which property worth thousands of crores of rupees has been damaged and destroyed from 2008 to 2016. A total of 34 schools were burnt during the 2016 unrest.

The ordinance amends the existing law to more effectively discourage/prevent deleterious activities of individuals/organisations which result in damage to public and private property.

The amendment has been made to implement the directions given by the Supreme Court in a case titled “In Re-Destruction of Public and Private Properties vs State of A.P and others (2009)”.

The ordinance has been promulgated to make damage to public and private property due to direct action punishable, and to make any person calling for direct action liable for abetment of such an offence, the government said. Further, the scope of the existing law which was earlier restricted to public property has been enlarged to also include private property.  The CPM said the move will have a grave implication and will trample the legitimate democratic rights of people.

The committee submitted 24 points to preserve the deity, of which only eight were passed by the bench made up of Justices Arun Mishra and L Nageswara Rao.

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