Current context: 

Uttarakhand is set to introduce a bill to recover property damage caused by protests and riots.

About current context:

  • Uttarakhand plans to introduce a bill resembling those in Uttar Pradesh (2020) and Haryana (2021), aiming to recover damages to public and government properties from disturbance-related individuals.

What is Damage Recovery Bill?

The Damage Recovery Bill addresses property damage during public disturbances, balancing citizens’ rights, and state responsibility. 


  • During protests in India, rioting, vandalism, and arson are common incidents, but existing laws are insufficient in recovering damages to public property.
  • The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, while prescribing penalties for convicts, lacks provisions for actual recovery of damages.
  • Recognizing this gap, several states have introduced their own legislation to address this issue.

Key Provisions of the Damage Recovery Bill

Recovery of Damages:

  • The bill allows for the recovery of property damages caused by individuals during public disorder disturbances, such as riots and violent disorder.
  • It aims to hold both perpetrators of violence and protest organizers accountable for property damage.

Compensation to Victims:

  • The bill ensures compensation to victims whose properties have been damaged.
  • This provision emphasizes the state’s responsibility to protect both private and government-owned property.

Comprehensive Coverage:

  • Recovery will not only be sought from those directly involved in violence but also from protest leaders, organizers, planners, and participants.
  • This approach aims to create deterrence and discourage violence during protests.

Claims Tribunal:

  • The bill establishes a Claims Tribunal to determine liability, assess damages, and award compensation.
  • The tribunal’s composition and functioning are crucial for effective implementation.

Attachment of Property:

  • The bill allows the tribunal to seize property or bank accounts of individuals who have been awarded compensation.
  • This ensures that the recovery process is enforceable.

Appeal Mechanism:

  • Aggrieved parties can appeal against the tribunal’s award before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.
  • The bill restricts civil courts from entertaining questions related to compensation claims.

Government’s Stand and Criticisms

Government’s Responsibility:

  • The bill emphasizes that protecting property—whether private or government-owned—is the state’s responsibility.
  • It strikes a balance between citizens’ rights and their responsibility to prevent property damage.

Deterrence and Accountability:

  • The legal framework aims to deter violence and hold both perpetrators and organizers accountable.
  • Critics argue that the bill may violate fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Challenges and Clarity:

  • The composition of the Claims Tribunal must adhere to Supreme Court guidelines.
  • Identifying offenders, executing recovery plans, and penalties for non-compliance remain unclear.

Legal Provisions in India:

  • India lacks a central legislation for recovery of damages, with the current action against rioters being limited to the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. 
  • Despite a law against property destruction, incidents of rioting, vandalism, and arson are common during protests. The Supreme Court has suggested changes to the law.


  • Protest organizers must declare followers’ responsibility for property damage, while facial recognition technology and databases can help police catch vandals.
  • Increased surveillance cameras monitor protest leaders, subject to privacy laws.


The Damage Recovery Bill represents a crucial step toward ensuring accountability and protecting public property. While it addresses a pressing issue, its implementation and adherence to constitutional principles require careful consideration. 

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