Supreme Court asks Yogi govt to refund crores recovered from anti-CAA protestors

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to refund crores of rupees recovered from protestors of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in view of proceedings initiated in 2019.

The apex court’s order came in response to the submission from the Yogi Adityanath government that it has withdrawn 274 recovery notices and proceedings initiated against the anti-CAA protestors in 2019 for the damage caused to public and private properties.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said the state government will refund the entire amount worth crores of rupees, recovered from the alleged protestors. The bench, however, granted liberty to the state government to proceed against the protestors under the new law — Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act – notified on August 31, 2020.

The bench refused to accept the submission of additional advocate general Garima Prashad that the protestors and the state government be allowed to move the claim tribunal instead of directing refunds.

On February 11, the top court had pulled up the UP government for acting on the recovery notices issued to the alleged anti-CAA protestors in December 2019 and gave one final opportunity to it to withdraw the proceedings, failing which it warned of quashing the proceedings for being in violation of the law.

It had said that the proceedings initiated in December 2019 were contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court and cannot be sustained.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by one Parwaiz Arif Titu seeking quashing of notices sent to alleged protestors by the district administration for recovering losses caused by damage to public properties during the anti-CAA agitations in UP and asked the state to respond to it.

The plea said such notices were sent to even a person who had died six years ago at the age of 94 and also to several others, including two people who are aged above 90.

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