Kerala high court directs PFI to pay ₹5.2 crore as damages
The group was asked to pay ₹5.20 crore as damages estimated to have been caused during the bandh it called against raids on the premises of the group and people associated with it last week
The Kerala high court on Thursday directed the Popular Front of India (PFI) to pay in two weeks ₹5.20 crore as damages estimated to have been caused during the bandh it called against raids on the premises of the group and people associated with it last week.
The bandh was called days before the Centre on Wednesday outlawed the group and its affiliates for five years after a crackdown across several states.
A division bench of justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and C P Mohammad Nias directed lower courts against giving bail to the accused until the damages are paid. It directed the government to make PFT state secretary A Abdul Sattar, who made the bandh call, an accused in all cases filed in connection with violence during the shutdown.
“Life of citizen cannot be put in peril. The message is loud and clear. If anybody does it, this will be the consequence. You can have your organisation and demonstrations against any cause. The Constitution permits it, but no flash hartals,” the court said.
In 2019, the court said at least seven-day notice was needed for a hartal and declared a sudden shutdown illegal and unconstitutional. The court took cognisance on its own of the PFI’s bandh last Friday.
It said strict proceedings, including attachment of their properties, can be initiated if the damages were not paid. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation earlier informed the court that 58 of its buses were damaged and 20 employees injured in the violence during the bandh.