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pfi: Kerala high court initiates case against PFI for bandh

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The Kerala high court has registered a case against the Popular Front of India for its state-wide ‘hartal’ on Friday to protest against the arrest of its leaders by the National Investigation Agency. The court said it would also initiate contempt proceedings against PFI.

The court named PFI and its general secretary Abdul Sathar as respondents. The flash bandh call given by PFI saw stone pelting at some places in Kerala on public and private vehicles, which threw normal life off gear. Schools and colleges declared a day’s holiday fearing for the safety of students.

A division bench of Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Mahammed Nias CP disapproved of PFI’s conduct of its flash call for a hartal the next day, a clear violation of its order on January 7, 2019. The order had said that any call for a bandh or strike or hartal can be only after a mandatory 7-day notice to the public.

The court found Friday’s bandh unconstitutional and said it amounted to contempt of its order. The court also requested the media to give publicity to its order about the notice period whenever it published reports of bandh calls. Not following the same would amount to violation of its orders, the bench said.

It also ordered the police to bear in mind the relevant provisions of the Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Act, 2019, as well as IPC while dealing with perpetrators of Friday’s bandh. It also ordered protection to all public utility services and called for a report from the police about the extent of damage to public and private properties during the bandh. The court said this was necessary to take remedial action to recover losses from perpetrators of the illegality. The court posted the case for September 29 for further hearing, while calling for a report from the government.


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