The Ministry of Home Affairs – Government of India, has invited suggestions for proposed amendments in the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act, 1984. The proposed amendments seek to deter the prospective violators from vandalizing and destroying public/private property during agitations and other forms of protests. The proposed amendments will also deter the office-bearers of these organizations.
Suo moto cognisance by Supreme Court
On 5 June 2007, taking cognisance of the various instances where there were large scale destruction of public and private properties in the name of agitations, bandhs, hartals etc, Supreme Court initiated suo moto proceedings and appointed two committees, one headed by former SC judge – Justice K.T. Thomas and other headed by Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman.
Justice K.T. Thomas committee was to examine modalities to be adopted to make the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 (PDPP Act, 1984) more effective and also suggest suitable changes, which could make the Statute more meaningful.
Recommendations of Justice K.T. Thomas Committee
Justice K.T. Thomas Committee made the following recommendations:
- The PDPP Act must be so amended as to incorporate a rebuttable presumption (after the prosecution established the two facets) that the accused is guilty of the offence.
- The PDPP Act to contain provision to make the leaders of the organization, which calls the direct action, guilty of abetment of the offence.
- The PDPP Act to contain a provision for rebuttable presumption.
- Enable the police officers to arrange videography of the activities damaging public property.
Judgment of Supreme Court
On 16 April 2009, Supreme Court disposed of the proceedings vide its judgment – In Re: Destruction of Public & Private Properties v. State of A.P. and Ors. – (2009) 5 SCC 212 observing:
The suggestions are extremely important and they constitute sufficient guidelines which need to be adopted. But leave it to the appropriate authorities to take effective steps for their implementation. At this juncture we are not inclined to give any positive directions.
Ministry of Home Affairs has communicated that it has decided to accept the recommendations of the Justice K.T. Thomas Committee.
Send your suggestions
The present provision of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 and the proposed draft Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act are available on the Ministry of Home Affairs website www.mha.nic.in. The proposed draft of the amendment bill can also be accessed on our website here.
The suggestions/comments on the proposed draft PDPP Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015 from can be sent to MHA on or before 20 July 2015 and the same may be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs, CS Division, 5th Floor, NDCC Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi-110001. The suggestion could also be sent on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.