Kerala HC bans flash hartals

Kerala HC bans flash hartals

Police personnel patrol at a closed market during Congress party's statewide 'black day' strike on the issue of the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, in Kozhikode. PTI file Photo

The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered a ban on flash hartal calls. At least seven days advance notice should be given before observing hartal by any outfits hereafter.

The HC order will be a major relief for Kerala that has been witnessing a series of hartals recently over the Sabarimala women entry row. Also, the two-day nationwide general strike by various trade unions on Tuesday and Wednesday is likely to hit normal life in the state.

Considering a petition filed by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry and some other forums, the High Court maintained that the outfits making hartal calls should be made accountable for any damages caused to the public due to the hartal. The court observed that while everyone has the right to stage protests, it should not infringe the basic rights of the public.

The Kerala government informed the court that adequate security would be provided to shops and commercial establishments and vehicles during the two-day trade union strike. The court sought a report from the Kerala Government on the steps taken for the safety of the public during the two-day nation-wide trade union strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The petitioners pointed out that as many as 97 working days were lost in the state in 2018 owing to the hartals and strikes by various outfits. They had sought a blanket ban on hartals.