Kochi: Taking a serious view of destruction of public property during agitations, the Kerala High Court on Monday ordered that an amount equivalent to the loss must be deposited by the accused as a condition before any bail plea is moved.
Justice KT Sankaran gave this order on a petition filed by seven DYFI activists who allegedly destroyed a police jeep on September 20 in Chevayoor police station limits.
The court had earlier granted bail to the accused on the condition they deposit Rs 25,000. However, they approached the court with a plea to reconsider the condition.
The judge said Prevention of Public Property Act was enacted with a view to curb acts of vandalism and damage to public property, including destruction and damage in riots.
It directed the petitioners to deposit Rs 25,000 before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kozhikode and held they should be released on bail only after remitting the amount.
The state government however submitted that destruction of public property cannot always be compensated in terms of money.
A rigorous approach is required on granting bail and also in imposing conditions in cases where there are destruction of public property, it said.
If the accused are found not guilty and acquitted, they would be entitled for refund, the court held.
In another case recently, Justice Sankaran had observed that destruction of public property by strikers and agitators should be viewed seriously.
The court could not remain a mute spectator when public property was being destroyed, the judge said.
Every citizen had a right over such property and it could not be destroyed, the judge said.