Kerala High Court comes down heavily on political parties over hartals


The Kerala High Court has made scathing observations against political parties for using “hartal” as a mode of agitation in the state, saying such form of strikes hit the state’s economy and image.

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

“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,” it added.

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 judgment of a single-judge bench, awarding a compensation of Rs seven lakh to a driver, who lost his eye in stone- pelting by an agitating crowd, owing allegiance to a political party during a hartal called by it.moneycontrol