Kozhikode, Sep 3 : Thanks to the January 7 pronouncement by the Kerala High Court banning hartals without prior and proper notice, the general public of Kerala has been enjoying the fruits of the dictum for more than six months now.
Known for flash strikes, Kerala witnessed its last of such one by the Youth Congress on February 18, for which the party was hammered well enough by the court. But, it made all the difference in the State ending its political tradition of calling hartals for anything and everything bringing normal life to a standstill.
The Kerala High Court has set a seven-day notice period for political parties and individuals to call for hartal and general strike in the State. The court was looking into a petition filed by Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry against the strikes. Pointing fingers at all prominent political parties of the state Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Indian National Congress, the Communist Party of India, the Indian Union Muslim League, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Kerala Congress (M) as respondents, the merchants association pointed out that the life and business comes to a standstill on account of the flash strikes. The PIL said that in 2018 alone, 97 strikes were declared in Kerala, severely impacting business as well as the livelihood of workers.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar had on January 7 ordered that no hartal can take place without prior seven-day notice. The High Court held that any citizen could challenge the hartal within seven days.
The notice period would enable citizens approach court with their objections and examine the legality of the hartal call. This objective of the prior notice was to provide an opportunity for the state to safeguard the interests of the citizens, the HC held. UNI