Respond to PIL against October 2021 bandh call: HC asks MVA parties

Updated on Nov 25, 2022 12:28 AM IST

The PIL petitioners have claimed that the bandh, called by the MVA partners to express their solidarity with the farmers protesting against the Central farm laws and the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri incident had caused a loss of around ₹3,000 crore to the state exchequer

Respond to PIL against October 2021 bandh call: HC asks MVA parties
Respond to PIL against October 2021 bandh call: HC asks MVA parties
ByK A Y Dodhiya

Mumbai Lamenting that political parties do not abide by orders passed by courts, the Bombay high court has asked Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party – the partners in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, to respond to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro and others, questioning their call for state-wide bandh on October 11, 2021.

The PIL petitioners have claimed that the bandh, called by the MVA partners to express their solidarity with the farmers protesting against the Central farm laws and the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri incident, had caused a loss of around 3,000 crore to the state exchequer and therefore sought imposition of penalty on the parties, claiming the bandh was illegal and unconstitutional.

The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Abhay Ahuja while hearing the PIL questioned advocate R D Soni for the petitioners whether there was any compliance of Supreme Court orders which barred public servants from going on strike after it was informed that despite a Kerela HC order which declared bandhs being called by political parties as unconstitutional, the MVA had still called for it on October 11, 2021.

The bench sought to know from Ribeiro, as to what he had done to stop bandhs while he was in service. “When he was in service what did he do to stop the bandhs. When people are in power, they do nothing,” said the court noting that the petitioner was coming to court 30 years after retiring.

When Soni referred to a HC order in the B G Deshmukh case of 2003 wherein it had imposed a cost on Shiv Sena for calling a bandh and requested the HC to grant interim relief as a deterrent, the court said it would do so when it deemed necessary.

“The Kerela HC only granted declaratory relief and not compensatory relief and the same judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court. How can we pass such orders,” the judges asked.

Ruing that the orders of the court were not being followed, the bench said, “Judicial orders have been passed for removal of banners/hoardings, has it stopped. We are not going to pass futile orders. When there will be no execution on the ground, you will file a contempt petition.”

Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan informed the court that in the BG Deshmukh case, the state government had not appealed against the order and hence it had attained finality.

The bench while accepting the submission that the bandh was called by the MVA sought to know from the state DGP and Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, to explain what steps they had taken on October 11, 2021 to ensure compliance of the directions issued in the BG Deshmukh case.

The bench then noted that as it was evident that the MVA government had called for the bandh and all the three parties who are parties to the PIL, had stayed away from the proceedings, and asked them to file replies by January 9 and also directed the petitioners to file their rejoinders by January 18 and adjourned the hearing to January 23.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022
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