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HC refuses to declare hartals as illegal

HC refuses to declare hartals as illegal

Kochi: The High Court Wednesday refused to declare calling of hartals as illegal and asked the state government to consider framing comprehensive legislation to restrict or prohibit the same.

A Full bench of the court also directed the state to monitor all events of strikes and hartals and call for reports from district magistrates about them.

'The State shall monitor all events of strike and hartals and call reports from district magistrate and monitor the same,' it said.

It should also consider framing comprehensive legislation covering all aspects of the matter with due consideration of report of state law reforms committee submitted in 2008.

The bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice A M Shaffique and Justice Jayshankar Nambiar also rejected the prayer to prohibit media from publishing call of hartals, but asked it to maintain self restraint and self regulation.

Incidentally, it was Kerala High Court which delivered the landmark judgement banning bandhs in 1997, an order upheld by Supreme Court later.

In its order today, the court asked the media to share the information and details collected by it during hartals for identifying wrong doers so that people who suffer any kind of injustice to life and property should get early justice.

The three-judge bench was disposing a batch of petitions to declare call of hartals illegal. Another plea was to award compensation to hartal victims and prohibit media from publishing hartal calls.

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