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Explained: What is The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984

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New Delhi, Jun 18: There has been widespread violence following the announcement of the Agnipath recruitment scheme. The nation had also witnessed violence following the comments made on Prophet Mohammad.

In all these cases rioters have taken to the streets and damaged property. Public property worth crores of Rupees have been damaged. In the past three days, protesters even set trains ablaze.

Explained: What is The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984

To deal with such types of cases, The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act was introduced in 1984. The act enacted by Parliament was brought in for prevention of damage to public property and for matters connected therewith.
The act came into effect on January 28, 1984.

Definition of public property:
Public property" means any property, whether immovable or movable (including any machinery) which is owned by, or in the possession of, or under the control of:

  • The Central Government
  • The State Government
  • Any local authority
  • Any corporation established by or is under a central, provisional or state act
  • Any company as defined in Section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956. These are companies that are held by the government in which not less than 51 per cent of the paid up share capital is held by the Central or State government. IT also includes a company which is a subsidiary of the government company

Mischief causing damage to public property:
Whoever commits mischief by doing any act in respect of any public property, other than public property of the nature shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine.

Whoever commits mischief by doing any act in respect of any public property being:

  • Any building, installation or other property used in connection with the production, distribution or supply of water, light, power or energy
  • Any oil installations
  • Any sewage works;
  • Any mine or factory;
  • Any means of public transportation or of tele-communications, or any building, installation or other property used in connection therewith shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but it could extend to five years with fine.

Mischief causing damage to public property by fire or explosive substance:

  • Whoever commits an offence by fire or explosive substance shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for term which shall not be less one year but it could extend up to ten years with fine.
  • The act also says that no person accused or convicted of the above mentioned offences shall, if in custody be released on bail or on his own bond unless the prosecution has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such a release.

Section 427 Indian Penal Code (IPC)(Mischief causing damage): Whoever commits mischief and causes loss of damage to the amount of Rs 50 or upwards shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to two years or with fine or both.

Section 425 IPC (Mischief): Whoever with intent to cause, or knowing that he is likely to cause, wrongful loss or damage to the public or to any person, causes the destruction of any property, or any such change in any property or in the situation thereof as destroys or diminishes its value or utility, or affects it injuriously, commits "mischief".

Section 426 IPC (Punishment for mischief): Whoever commits mischief shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

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