The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to a bunch of Delhi University students contesting the student union elections asking why action should not be taken against them for defacing and damaging public walls and metro station pillars with poll posters and spray paint.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar said: “These students can get into deep trouble… They can go in for 10 years.”
The high court was referring to a provision in the Metro Railway (Operations and Maintenance) Act, 2002, as per which a person can be sent behind bars for up to 10 years for causing destruction or damage to metro properties.
“The purpose is (behind sending the legal notices) that they (students) should learn it is impermissible,” the bench added.
The notices were issued to a number of candidates of various parties, including RSS-backed ABVP and Congress affiliated NSUI, contesting for various posts in the DU Students’ Union (DUSU) elections to be held on Tuesday.
During the hearing, Delhi Police said it has registered FIRs after getting complaints from various agencies that many of the road signposts have been defaced by spray paint with names of parties and candidates.
The police has not named any person in the complaints as it was in the process of verifying whether the defacing was done by the candidates themselves or an act of mischief by rival parties, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, North Delhi, told the court.
Posting the matter for September 20, the court asked police to file its status report on action taken by it on the issue.
Advocate Prashant Manchanda, who has filed the case, said despite the North Delhi Municipal Corporation cleaning up a few selected areas such as bus stops, public walls in and around the DU, the same are again defaced and spray painted in a flash.
South and North MCD said it has put up efforts to remove the posters and banners of the student political outfits.
The public interest litigation by Manchanda sought a complete ban on the alleged defacement of public properties and also direction to the civic agencies to impose heavy fines on the political parties and the aspiring candidates in order to prevent further defacement of properties.