The Kerala High Court on thursday directed that necessary police protection be granted to the employees of the Adani Vizhinjam Port and its contractors to carry out the construction works of the Vizinjam International Seaport.

Justice Anu Sivaraman while passing the interim order observed that the right to agitate or protest against any matters including the neglect and apathy of the State government could not confer a right on the protesters to contend that they had the right to obstruct the activities and cause damage to the public property.

The court said that public protest can go on peacefully but without causing obstruction and trespassing into the project area.

‘Maintain law and order’

The court also ordered that in case the police were unable to maintain law and order at the site, necessary steps shall be taken to seek assistance from the Central Government.

The court made it clear that the protesters could not be heard to contend that they or anybody had the right to violate the law and create a situation where project proponents were disabled from going ahead.

The High Court had time and again held that protesters have no right to obstruct legally permitted activities in the guise of the protests whatever be the reason.

The petitioners said that, from August 16, hundreds of people led by the Latin Archdiocese, Thiruvananthapuram had been staging protests in front of the project site blocking the entrance. As a result, the construction works have come to a standstill. In fact, on August 19, the protestors broke the barricades erected by the police and stormed the area.

They alleged that the protesters are trying to delay the commissioning of the project by obstructing the construction works. Though the petitioners approached the police for protection, they say that no effective measures have been taken to protect them. They allege that the agitation has caused heavy damages and losses to the company and its contractors.