The Supreme Court on Sunday stopped the ruling DMK front in Tamil Nadu from going ahead with the state-wide bandh on Monday (or any other day) over the Sethusamudram project issue.
Stung by the ruling, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said in Chennai that he will observe a fast on Monday.
Convening on a Sunday, a rare occurrence, the special bench comprising Justice BN Aggarwal and Justice PP Naolekar held the bandh “unconstitutional”. The court said a bandh that paralyses public life violated the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
<b1>The ruling was a response to an AIADMK application challenging a Madras High Court order which allowed the bandh, provided normal life was not disrupted.
In a scathing criticism of the “perceived defiance of law by the political parties,” the bench said: “That is the problem in this country. We have to deal everything with an iron hand. Otherwise things do not work. Every organ, be it the legislature, executive or judiciary, has to dealt with an iron hand.”
Referring to a bandh-related resolution passed by the DMK, the bench said: “Your resolution says it is cessation of all activities and work. You want to show your popularity. Why do you want to close all down educational institutions and commercial activities? For getting people for your meetings?”
In Chennai, DMK leaders expressed displeasure at the way the Setu issue was handled by Karunanidhi and Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu. “It does rankle when a party, which is ruling in the state and part of the ruling front in Delhi, uses bandh as a weapon,” said a senior DMK leader.