The Delhi High Court today issued show cause notice to candidates of various parties contesting tomorrow's Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections as to why action should not be taken against them for allegedly defacing public property with their posters.
The high court also pulled up the Delhi Police for not taking action or arresting the violators for the offence of defacing public properties which attracts a maximum jail term of 10 years.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the offence was cognisable and liable to be punished and a strong message should go so that the violators learn a lesson.
"The offences are cognisable, non-bailable and liable for imprisonment and a message should go to public at large. The Deputy Commissioner of Police concerned shall inform the court against whom police has taken action.
"DCP shall also file status report and explain why you have not registered the cases under the provisions of the DMRC Act. If you would have arrested the violators, next time it will not happen," the bench said.
The court issued show cause notice to over 10 candidates of various parties, including RSS-backed ABVP and Congress- backed NSUI, and asked them to explain why action should not be taken against them for allegedly defacing public property by pasting advertisments and putting banners.
It asked the Election Commission of DU to ensure that notice is served to the candidates.
Among others, the court issued show cause notice to NSUI's presidential candidate Rocky Tuseed and ABVP's Ankit Basoya and Mahamedha Nagar and listed the matter for hearing on September 20.
The high court was hearing a PIL by advocate Prashant Manchanda seeking a complete ban on the alleged defacement of the public properties by the candidates for the DUSU polls tomorrow.
During the hearing, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation told the court that they have removed the banners.
This, however, did not impress the bench which asked the corporations what action they have taken against the violators and how many have been arrested.
The police said they have lodged 33 FIRs in this regard and issued direction that any illegal defacement of properties will be dealt with heavy hands.
The court, however, asked "How many have been arrested? Can't you identify the people? Whose posters are they? Under which sections FIRs have been lodged? We had asked you to take action. What have you done?"
The petitioner argued that the authorities were not taking serious steps though there were legal provisions which carry 10 years in jail and the violators can be arrested.
The high court had earlier expressed shock at the massive use of pamphlets, fliers and plastering of Delhi University walls with posters for the upcoming students union polls and sought responses of the city police and the civic bodies.
Manchanda, in his plea, has alleged that disruption of the classrooms by the candidates and student outfits in "horrible shape and painting (walls) in the classrooms, deals a striking body blow to the Right to life, liberty and education of the students".