A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday declined an interim plea to prevent the CPI(M) State secretary and the LDF convener or any activist of the party or the LDF from taking out any procession and staging dharnas and the like around the Secretariat from August 12.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M. Shaffique, while declining the prayer, orally observed that it was for the State government to take steps to see that the Kerala Public Ways (Restriction of Assemblies and Procession) Act, 2011, was implemented. It was in fact a law made by the State government.
The petition was filed by the Kochi-based Kerala Peoples Forum secretary Sreekumar S. Menon. According to the petitioner, he was challenging the illegal action of the LDF in calling for a blockade around the Secretariat from August 12.
According to the leaders of the LDF, tens of thousands of people from all over the State would be brought to make the agitation a success. They had already caused much nuisance and obstruction to the functioning of the Secretariat in the name of the “day-night sit-in”.
The petitioner contended that the agitations called by the LDF were against the provisions of the Kerala Public Ways (Restriction of Assemblies and Processions) Act, 2011, as well as the Prevention of Damage to the Public Property Act, 1984.
If a large number of people were bought to the public road around the Secretariat, the functioning of the Secretariat would be paralysed. It was also quite possible that anti-social elements would infiltrate the crowd and cause destruction to public and private properties.
The government should deploy sufficient force to tackle the situation. The organisers of the agitation were liable to compensate for any loss caused to the public as well as private property. The petitioner said nobody had any right to conduct any assembly on public streets or road margins or obstruct any such road or public place. The government should prevent such action.
The petition sought a directive to the government to take effective action to prevent the LDF or CPI(M) State secretary from taking out any procession and dharnas near the Secretariat.
The petitioner also sought a directive to the State government to take steps to deploy police force/ paramilitary force to tackle the proposed agitation.