State will pay for loss during agitation: SC

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 00:32

New Delhi: Sending out a stern message against the destruction of public property and transport system during agitations, the Supreme Court on Monday said state governments would have to pay for the loss incurred to
Railways and general public on disruption of rail services.

A bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly today indicated that it would frame a guidelines for fixing responsibility for all such loses on the state governments for failure to maintain law and order in their respective state.

"Destruction of public property and disrupting train services cannot be allowed in the name of agitation. The political parties behind such agitation must be derecognised and people must be sent behind the bars for such acts. Such activities are not acceptable and it promotes lawlessness," the bench said.

The bench asked the Haryana government to respond why it should not pay the loss incurred by the Railways following the 11-day stir organised by 12 `khap` panchayats against booking of some upper caste people in connection with the Mirchpur Dalit killings case.

"You must make some payment to Railways for its loss. You pay the money according to your own estimates," the bench said after the Centre pointed out that the Railways suffered a loss of Rs 33.95 crore during the agitations.

The bench asked all the parties to suggest on what guidelines to be framed to fix the responsibility for damages done to the public property during agitation.

During the last hearing, the state government had informed the court that loss of Rs 45.92 lakh was caused to the transport department due to agitation and Rs 90,000 were spent by the forest department in removing 3130 trees which were uprooted by the protesters.

Villagers had been protesting the booking of 98 members of their community in the case relating to the killing of 70-year-old Tara Chand and his physically challenged teenaged daughter Suman at Mirchpur village in Hisar on April 21 last year.

Demanding a fresh probe into the dalit killings, upper caste people of Mirchpur and other adjoining villages in Hisar district had brought the rail and road traffic to Delhi via Jind to a grinding halt earlier this month.

Members of the pre-dominant Jat community squatted on the railway tracks at Julani village near Jind railway station in December last year, disrupting railway traffic on the Jind-Jakhal section of the Delhi-Ferozepur route.

The protesters had also been blocking road traffic in Jind and other places of the state, besides locking up the Haryana roadways bus depot in many places.

Normalcy was restored in the troubled districts on January 26 following talks between leaders of the protesters and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Kaithal.

Hooda had assured Bhag Singh Jalabh, convener of the 41-member committee constituted by Sarvjatiya Sarvkhap Mahapanchayat, to look into his grievances that many of the upper caste people had been falsely implicated in the case.

A Delhi court had on January 9 directed the Haryana government to move all the 98 accused from Hisar jail to Tihar prison since their trial was transferred to a court in Delhi following a Supreme Court order.

The protesters had been demanding that the probe be held by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) either at Rohtak or Hisar and the accused be lodged in either of the two jails.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 00:32

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