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Kerala High Court comes down heavily on political parties over hartal

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018,11:50 IST By anju A A A

Kochi | Coming down heavily on political parties for using “hartal” as a mode of agitation, the Kerala High Court has observed that everyone from the banker to the butcher suffer and wanton destruction are its “never-failing nemeses”.

The court said such form of strikes hit the state’s economy and image.
“Not a man moves, not a vehicle runs, not even a mouse stirs. If anybody violates the agitators — usually political parties — dictates and stirs out, or opens office or shop, violence and wanton destruction are the never-failing nemeses.

Disruption defines hartal,” the court said in a recent order.

For the uninitiated into Kerala’s ways of public life, hartal — a camouflaged bandh banned long back — was a phenomenon to be watched and worried about, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu said.

In any corner of the state, an incident of any significance, became an incendiary, inciting and inflaming political passions, the bench said.

“Everyone — the banker, the baker, the butcher, the student, the shopkeeper — suffers. The economy suffers, the system suffers, the state’s image suffers,” the court said in its January 5 order.

It made the observations while upholding a November 11, 2016 judgement of a single-judge bench, awarding a compensation of Rs seven lakh to a driver, who lost his eye in stone-pelting by a mob, owing allegiance to a political party during a hartal called by it.