After the Uttar Pradesh government informed the Supreme Court it has withdrawn all the compensation notices sent to anti-CAA protesters back in December 2019, the apex court ordered the UP government on Friday, 18 February to refund any recoveries made under those notices.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant had last week told the Yogi Adityanath government that it would have to withdraw the notices, or see them quashed by the court, as they were in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court back in 2009.
Additional Advocate General for UP Garima Prashad informed the court on Friday that the government had passed passed orders on 14 and 15 February to withdraw the proceedings under the 274 compensation notices sent back at the height of the anti-CAA protests.
Despite opposition from the state counsel, the judges then said that refunds would need to be made to any of the protesters who had either paid compensation or seen property attached:
"Since the orders in pursuance of the show cause notices have been withdrawn in pursuance of the GOs, there shall be refund of any recovery made in the meantime."Bench's comments to the UP government, according to LiveLaw
The court did clarify that its order does not affect any of the recovery proceedings under the UP government's 2021 Act for recovery of compensation of damage to public and private property.
The apex court had on 11 February objected to how the recovery process under the compensation notices sent to anti-CAA protesters back in December 2019 did not involve judicial officers.
Justice Chandrachud noted that in a 2009 judgment, the Supreme Court had allowed for claims tribunals to be set up to order compensation for damage to public property, but that these had to be headed by judicial officers – retired or sitting judges.
The UP government, however, had appointed additional district magistrates, i.e., administrative service officers, to head the claims tribunals that assessed the damage for the 274 notices sent in December 2019. In 236 cases, the compensation demanded from the authorities was confirmed by these claims tribunals.
"You cannot bypass our orders. How can you appoint ADMs, when we had said it should be by judicial officers? Whatever proceedings were conducted in December 2019 was contrary to the law laid down by this court."Justice DY Chandrachud to UP government on 11 February
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)