Thiruvananthapuram: Those who damage private property during agitations will have to pay heavily as per a Bill brought up by the LDF government.
The Bill named ‘Kerala prevention of damage to private property and payment of compensation Bill 2019’ was referred to the subjects committee after discussions in the Assembly on Thursday.
Section (4) subtitled ‘Punishment for committing damaging acts’ says, “whoever commits a damaging act shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.’’
Section 5 subtitled ‘punishment for committing damaging acts by fire or explosive substance’ says, “whoever commits a damaging act by fire or explosive substance shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imp-risonment of either desc-ription for a term up to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.’’
There are also stringent conditions for bail in this act. The section concerned says, “no person convicted or accused of an offence punishable under section 4 or section 5 shall, if in custody, be released on bail unless the prosecution has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release on execution of bond by two solvent sureties and furnishing of sufficient security in the form of bank guarantee or money is deposited in court which shall not be less than one half the value of the property destroyed or damaged, as may be determined by the court on the basis of a report by an officer appointed by the government by notification in the official gazette for such purpose.”
Section 3 says that no person participating in communal riots, hartal, bandh, demonstration, march, procession, blockade of road traffic or similar assembly by whatever name called, shall cause any damaging act.
This is followed by 3A which says that the police can make video recording of the commission of an offence under this act and such video recording shall be admissible in any proceedings subject to the provisions in section 65A and 65B of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 (Central Act 1 of 1872)
In the Bill, damaging act means an act causing any damage or loss or destruction to any private property due to communal riots, hartal, bandh, demonstration, march, procession, blockade of road traffic or similar assembly by whatever name called, committed by an individual, group of individuals or organisation whether social, religious or political.
The Bill defined ‘private property’ as any property whether movable or immovable, including any machinery other than public property as defined in the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 (Central Act 3 of 1984), which is owned by or in the possession of or under the control of any person or organisation or institution or entity.