Ker­ala har­tal: Onus on govern­ment to pro­tect its ci­ti­zens

The New Indian Express - - TAMIL NADU/SOUTH - EX­PRESS NEWS SER­VICE @ Kochi

THE Ker­ala High Court held it was the state govern­ment’s duty to en­sure peo­ple are warned of prompt le­gal ac­tion in case they cre­ate any lawand-or­der prob­lem or dis­tur­bance dur­ing har­tal.

The High Court on Thurs­day, said it had held har­tal and bandh are il­le­gal. The state should also as­sure ci­ti­zens of its full pro­tec­tion as against the il­le­gal har­tal called by Op­po­si­tion Leader Ramesh Chen­nithala. The Di­vi­sion Bench also is­sued a no­tice to him by speed post.

The bench is­sued the or­der on the plea filed by Mal­lap­pally pan­chayat ward mem­ber So­jan Paviyanose. Ac­cord­ing to him, call­ing a har­tal by Chen­nithala, who is the Op­po­si­tion Leader, is an of­fence un­der 166 (Pub­lic ser­vant dis­obey­ing the law, with in­tent to cause in­jury to any per­son) of IPC.

He said Chen­nithala was hold­ing a Cabi­net rank and hav­ing staff, fa­cil­i­ties, salary and al­lowances of a min­is­ter. The pe­ti­tion said de­spite the spe­cific di­rec­tives by the Supreme Court and High Court, po­lit­i­cal par­ties were fre­quently call­ing har­tal and gen­eral strike caus­ing se­ri­ous dif­fi­cul­ties to ci­ti­zens. The High Court had ear­lier held when­ever a har­tal or a gen­eral strike was called, the govern­ment should take ad­e­quate mea­sures to see ci­ti­zens’ nor­mal life was not paral­ysed. That is to be done not by declar­ing holidays or post­pon­ing ex­ams, but by giv­ing ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion to those who are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in such har­tals or strikes.

The govern­ment pleader sub­mit­ted in view of the Ker­ala HC judg­ment there was no dis­tinc­tion between bandh and har­tal, the govern­ment had is­sued in­struc­tions to all po­lice of­fi­cials with re­gard to the steps re­quired to be taken to en­sure pub­lic or­der is main­tained.

“In our view, even if there is no intimidation, peo­ple gen­er­ally avoid tak­ing risk fear­ing dam­age to their life and prop­erty. It would be the duty of the state to dis­pel this fear,” the court held.

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