Rioters will pay: Uttarakhand Government’s Anti Riot Law

Read Time: 08 minutes

The Uttarakhand government has approved a new law aimed at deterring riots and ensuring compensation for damages caused during such incidents. The law, known as the “Uttarakhand Public and Private Property Recovery Ordinance 2024”, represents the country's most stringent law concerning compensation for riot-related damages.

As per the State Government’s Press Release, during a recent Cabinet meeting, the decision was made to introduce this groundbreaking legislation, marking a bold step in the state’s approach to combating rioting incidents. The Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, said, “The Cabinet has approved the formation of a special tribunal …with the aim of strictly curbing the cases of riots and unrest.”

Historically, Uttarakhand lacked a structured mechanism to address and compensate for the destruction caused to properties during public unrest. However, with the new law, the state takes a bold step forward, signalling a zero-tolerance policy towards vandalism and riots. CM Dhami further stated, "Those who disturb the peace of the state will have to pay a heavy price." He emphasised that the punitive measures will "set an example that will be remembered for years,” that would deter generations of potential rioters from tarnishing the sacred land of Devbhoomi, a term endearingly used for Uttarakhand.

Underscoring a firm stance against rioting and the destruction of public property, the CM said, "damage caused to public property during the riots would be compensated by the rioters themselves.”

Under the newly approved legislation, in instances where public or private property is damaged due to protests or riots, the Circle Officer will report the incident to the District Magistrate. Subsequently, a Claims Tribunal, established by the District Magistrate, will evaluate the extent of the damages through a Court Commissioner.

Key features of the ordinance include:

• Special Tribunal Formation: A dedicated tribunal will be established to specifically handle incidents of riots and unrest, with the goal of speeding up the process of resolving cases and compensating for damages.

• Full Accountability for Rioters: Individuals identified as responsible for inciting or participating in unrest will be held completely accountable for all associated damages, affecting both public and private assets. They are also expected to bear the costs related to riot management undertaken by public officials and agencies.

• Hefty Penalties for Offenders: Those involved in rioting activities could be penalised with fines reaching up to Rs 8 lakh, a measure intended to prevent individuals from engaging in such disruptive behaviour.

• Claims Tribunal and Claims Commissioner: A formal Claims Tribunal will be set up to take strict actions against those involved in rioting. An Additional District Magistrate (ADM) will serve as the Claims Commissioner, leading the tribunal's proceedings and ensuring the enforcement of the ordinance's provisions.

• Governor's Approval: Following its approval by the Cabinet, the ordinance has been forwarded to the Governor for final approval. In light of the urgency of the situation and the current adjournment of the State Legislature, the Governor is vested with the authority, under Article 213 of the Indian Constitution, to enact this law. Once approved, the ordinance will come into immediate effect, marking a critical step towards deterring riotous activities and ensuring swift justice for affected parties.


• Impact and Enforcement: Upon its enactment, the ordinance is expected to serve as a powerful deterrent against rioting, holding those who compromise public tranquility accountable for their actions. 

The introduction of the "Uttarakhand Public and Private Property Recovery Ordinance 2024" is not an isolated measure but part of a series of strict legal frameworks introduced by Chief Minister Dhami’s government. Earlier actions include implementing the country's strictest anti-copying law and passing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill, underscoring the government's resolve to enforce order and discipline within the state.


Source - NewsX and Uttarakhand Government Press Release