Pay for Kerala bandh damages, HC tells Youth Congress
The Kerala High Court on Friday ordered Youth Congress state president Dean Kuriakose to pay compensation for damages caused during the flash shutdown, called by his organisation last Monday in the wake of killing of two of its workers in north Kerala’s Kasargode.
The high court had taken a suo motu case against the statewide shutdown called by the Youth Congress, considering it contempt of court and violation of its January 3 order. Last month, the court had banned flash hartals (strike) and ordered they can be declared only after giving a prior notice of seven days.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy also directed the police to make him an accused in all cases registered in connection with damaging public property during the hartal (strike). It also ordered the United Democratic Front [a Congress-led opposition alliance] leaders in Kasargode to pay compensation to all who suffered damages on the hartal day.
The Youth Congress had called a statewide hartal on Monday in protest against the killing of two activists, Kripesh and Sharth Lal, allegedly by a group of Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers.
The court also decided to appoint a commission to fix the compensation amount for losses caused to the public during the shutdown. The court will hear the case again on March 5 and asked Kuriakose to appear in person again.
During the hearing, Kuriakose told the court that he was not aware of the high court ban on flash shutdowns. Kuriakose said he will talk to legal experts and senior leaders and submit a report to the court on the next hearing date. “...It was an emotional decision and we had no intention to flout the court order...” he said.
While hearing the contempt plea, the government counsel wanted the court to consider the January 3 shutdown (protesting against the entry of two women in temple) called by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an apex body spearheading the agitation. The court said it will consider it during the next hearing.