State Govt. Apologizes To Kerala HC Over Delay In Recovering ₹5.20 Crores Damages From PFI
The State Government on Friday unconditionally apologized to the Kerala High Court for the delay in completing recovery proceedings in connection with the damage to public property during the violence in the hartal called for by the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI).
The Government told the High Court that properties identified by the registration department as belonging to those who called for or participated in the hartal would be confiscated by January 15 and sought a month's time to complete the recovery proceedings.
It said that there was no wilful default on its part and the Land Revenue Commissioner has been entrusted with carrying out the recovery proceedings.
The Court said the destruction of public property was a serious issue and it was important to ensure it does not happen.
Any action contrary to the protection of public property should be dealt with by an iron fist, the Court said.
Earlier this week, the High Court had expressed displeasure over the delay in recovery proceedings and had directed the State government to complete the same by January.
The Government had on November 7 told the Court that a loss of Rs 86 lakh was incurred due to the damage to the property during the violence in the state-wide hartal in September.
The Government had also submitted that a loss of Rs 16 lakh was suffered by private persons during the violence.
So far, the State police have registered a total of 361 cases and arrested 2,674 people.
Earlier, the High Court had asked the banned PFI and its ex-State general secretary Abdul Sathar to deposit Rs 5.2 crore with the Home Department towards damages estimated by the KSRTC and the state government in connection with the hartal-related violence saying they must be held accountable for it.
Sathar, when he was the State general secretary of the outfit, had called for the hartal against the nationwide raids on PFI offices and arrests of its leaders, and then allegedly absconded.
Hours after the PFI was banned, he had issued a statement saying the outfit has been disbanded in the wake of the Home Ministry's decision, and subsequently, he was arrested.
With PTI Inputs