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Sunday, April 11, 2021

UP Assembly nod for Bill to penalise property defacement

Bill to penalise defacement passed in Assembly.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
Updated: March 2, 2021 3:26:50 am
The BJP government in the state had brought a law to penalise people for damage to public properties during protests. (Representational)

Defacing any government or private property by pasting a poster or writing on the wall could lead to imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh in Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a Bill for the prevention of defacement of public and private properties.

Earlier, the BJP government in the state had brought a law to penalise people for damage to public properties during protests.

The government said the reasons that the new Bill – Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Defacement of Public and Private Property Bill, 2021 – was brought as “defacement spoils the view and beauty of properties and creates a bad image of the state in the minds of the people, tourists or visitors.”

It compels the helpless owners to either tolerate it or remove such disfigurement or re-paint the property at their own cost, the government said.

“The distortion of public and private properties on the invocation of political processions, illegal demonstrations, strikes, shutdowns and agitations in the state is done by the people participating in such activities… It has been noticed that public property is defaced by pasting pamphlets/posters or writing/marking with ink/paint or chalk. Houses, walls, fences and other structures of private properties are also defaced during such activities… It has been decided to enact a law to put a check on activities, which cause defacement of public and private property, to maintain the beauty of towns and cities in the state and to protect the interest of the public at large,” the government said.

Defining the penalty under the law, the Bill states: “Whoever defaces any public or private property without prior permission of the owner, except for the purpose of indicating the name and address of the owner or occupier of such property or beautification carried out by local self-government shall be deemed to have committed an offence under this Act.”

“Such offence under the law would be punishable with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine not less than Rs 5,000, which may extend to Rs 1 lakh or both,” it added.

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Under the Bill, the executive magistrate or police commissioner will have the authority to compound any offence under the Act after giving a proper opportunity for hearing.

“Further, while making the assessment of the compounding amount, it would be kept in mind that 50 per cent of the compounding amount includes the amount which would be incurred for the removal of the defacement and the remaining 50 per cent is deposited in the relevant fund of the state government,” it said.

Once enacted, the law would also hold significance considering that the state would soon hold panchayat elections with Assembly elections due next year.

Goonda Law amended

The Assembly on Monday passed “The Uttar Pradesh Control of Goondas (Amendment) Bill, 2021 as per which Commissioner of Police, including Joint Commissioner of Police as well as Deputy Commissioner of Police, will be empowered as the appellate authority under the Act.

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