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The Delhi High Court on 26th August while directing the Delhi Government to initiate civil and criminal action against identified individuals for defacing public and private properties during student polls, cautioned DU to not be too harsh on the young student leaders as they might someday become great leaders of the country. “You know the examples, you must have seen it yesterday.”– apparently referring to Late Arun Jaitley’s distinguished state funeral, who rose as an ABVP student activist in 1970 and went on to become the DUSU President in 1974.

The Former Finance Minister, who died on Saturday, practised extensively in the Delhi High Court and was recognized as a prominent BJP leader and trusted peer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The petitioner in person advocate Prashant Manchanda, apprised the High Court Bench about massive defacement of public and private properties by the student political outfits, during the course of DUSU elections, by the use of spray paints, inks, chalks and other impugned material. It was also informed that the Defacement caused by the student political outfits have caused permanent damage across entire Delhi.

The attention of the Court was also drawn on Order Dated 08.01.2019 which held as follows:

“Taking note of the documents available on record, particularly, the status report filed by the petitioners, we find that following 15 persons were involved in destruction of public and private property through use of spray paints and other means of defacement during the process of DUSU

Despite they being identified no action has been taken by the Municipal Corporation under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007 or by the Police Authorities under any statutory provision.  Before directing to take action against those 15 persons, who are responsible for the act, we deem it appropriate to issue notice to all the 15 persons through Dean of Students Welfare Committee, Delhi University asking them to show cause as to why action be not taken against them under the statutory provision for acts of commission and omission as are indicated in the status report filed by the petitioners.”

The Bench held that from the order dated 08.1.2019, and hearing the parties, it appears that the respondents (Delhi Govt, Union of India, Police and Civic Authorities) should have initiated both criminal and civil actions against the persons involved in the defacement/damage to the Public and private property on account of the status report filed by the petitioner, in view thereof, immediate action must be taken by the respondents in terms of the aforesaid order.

Court said that although Delhi University should not be harsh on these young student leaders, the respondents should still initiate action on both criminal and civil sides against whosoever is involved in damaging public or private properties after proper warning regarding the court’s orders.

Court also directed the respondents to frame a policy and communicate the same along with court’s orders to the student unions and their leaders so that similar actions of defacement can be prevented in future.

The respondents have been asked to give both oral and written warning to the student leaders and in terms of repeated orders, guidelines dated 29.05.2018 and directions passed by the court.

— India Legal Bureau

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