Rail/road blockades: SC warns Centre of special courts

Last Updated 22 November 2011, 12:54 IST

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S D Mukhopadhyay granted 3 weeks to the Centre to come out with concrete suggestions to tackle the menace, failing which it will have to intervene to ensure prosecution of the agitators for criminal offence.

"We are going to order mandatory prosecution of those who give calls for rail and rasta roko. Cases against them should be disposed in 3 months. We are intending to pass orders for creation of special courts for this," it said.

The apex court made the remarks while dealing with a PIL relating to attacks on Dalits in Haryana's Mirchpur village, resulting in the death of two persons, including a physically challenged girl in April 2010.

The bench had earlier expanded the scope of the petition by inviting suggestions from the Centre to tackle frequent blockades and measures to recover the losses from the protesters, while noting that the protests are the handiwork of politicians including ministers.

"Honourable ministers also take part in rail and rasta roko agitations. It is part of their political agenda," the bench quipped.

The Centre had pleaded for more time to come out with its suggestions for tackling rasta/rail rokos and measures to recover the losses sustained from the agitators.

"Are you really serious in stopping it? We would like to know how many policemen are deployed to protect passengers from hooligans and vandals? 184 transport buses were put to fire in one day agitation in Hyderabad. Ours is a country where tolerance limit is unlimited," the bench remarked.

The apex court warned the Centre that if it failed to come out with concrete suggestions, it would have to intervene.

" Since you are not doing it, we will do it. We are the third constituent of the state. It is your function. If you don't do, we will do it.

" All of us at a given point of time are victims. A few months ago, there was a jam in Delhi due to agitation. Lawyers could not reach court and cases were adjourned. Victims are poor persons," the bench said.

The apex court later granted three weeks for the Centre to suggest norms for stopping the blockades and penalising those involved in such agitations.

Earlier, the Railways and Haryana government had filed affidavits putting their losses during the Jat community organised stir at Rs 34 crore and Rs 46 lakh, respectively.
Members of the Jat community had resorted to rail and rasta roko protests in Haryana to give vent to their anger at the alleged victimisation of the community members for the Mirchpur violence against Dalits.

A trial court in Delhi had on October 31 awarded life imprisonment to three persons for the Mirchpur killings.

(Published 22 November 2011, 12:51 IST)

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