Kerala High Court mandates 7-day notice for hartals/strikes

Kochi | Updated on January 07, 2019 Published on January 07, 2019

Sets 7-day notice period for hartals

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.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrikesh Roy and AK Jayasankaran Nambiar said the notice period would enable citizens approach court with their objections and examine the legality of the hartal call. It will also provide an opportunity for the State to safeguard the interests of the citizens, the court held.

The order was issued while considering a batch of petitions.

Rights violation

Referring to an earlier decision of the Kerala High Court against bandhs, the court said, “What was said about the bandhs in 1997 squarely applied to hartals and general strikes.”

While the court recognised the fundamental right of those who call for strike to demonstrate their protests, the same cannot be exercised in violation of the fundamental rights of other citizens. The fundamental right of the citizens to life and livelihood would outweigh the fundamental right of persons calling for strikes and hartals, the court said.

The call for hartals and general strikes denies the fundamental rights of traders, the general public, migrant labourers and those in unorganised sectors. Those persons who call for hartals will be held responsible for the loses suffered due to the event, the court held.

Loss to economy

The State’s economy suffered heavily during the recent devastating floods. It shall not suffer any more on account of hartals and general strikes. The economy of the State is heavily dependent on tourism. The recent travel advisories issued by a few foreign countries cautioning their citizens travelling to Kerala cannot be ignored, the court said.

During last calender year, 97 hartals and strikes took place in the State and inthe New Year, one hartal was called on January 3. Trade unions have also called for a two-day strike starting January 8, the court noted.

Published on January 07, 2019
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