The Delhi High Court today directed the Centre, Delhi University and the city police to ensure no defacement of public property during the upcoming DUSU elections and give wide publicity to the penal consequences of such actions.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice
C Hari Shankar said defacement of public property did not only mean putting pictures or writing over the property, it also included pasting posters and putting hoardings.
It asked the authorities to take steps forthwith.
The bench also asked the authorities to give widespread publicity in all the colleges and campus of Delhi University to the penal provisions for the offence of defacing public properties.
The court was informed that the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) elections are likely to be held in September.
It was hearing a plea by advocate Prashant Manchanda, who sought a complete ban on defacement of public properties by the DUSU poll candidates.
The petitioner also placed several photographs showing defacement of properties by prospective candidates campaigning for the DUSU polls.
The bench asked Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjay Ghosh to ensure that the Delhi Police take stringent action on it.
It directed the Delhi University students, who defaced Delhi Metro properties during the varsity polls last year, to participate in the meetings held for beautification of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) sites.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 12.
It issued bailable warrants against several students, who had contested the 2017 DUSU polls, for failing to appear before it despite being served a notice.
The Delhi Police also filed a status report saying that it was taking action against any violation of the provisions of Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, in a diligent manner.
The court was informed by Ghosh that from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, 1,094 cases were registered and 686 persons were arrested for violation of the Act, and from
January 1, 2018 till June 30, police have registered 95 cases and arrested 68 persons.
The court had earlier directed the students to work with DMRC to restore its defaced properties across the city after taking into consideration the metro's submission that about 76 of its properties were found to be permanently defaced and restoring them would cost over Rs 16 lakh and take six months.
The high court had also warned the students that they might have to go to jail if they were found defacing public property ahead of the next elections of the varsity.
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