Frequent bandhs: High Court notice to State, Vatal Nagaraj

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court yesterday ordered notice to the State Government and Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader and ex-MLA Vatal Nagaraj in response to a PIL challenging the bandhs called on Jan.25 and Feb.4.

A Division Bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice H.G. Ramesh and Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar, has posted the petition filed by Shraddha Parents Association, Bengaluru, to Feb.2 so as to await the response from the respondents. The petition was filed on Jan.25 itself when the first bandh took place. The Counsel for the petitioner, while citing media reports, claimed that in the last one year or so more than a dozen of bandhs have taken place seriously affecting the public at large.

In the PIL, apart from seeking a direction to declaring the said two bandhs as unconstitutional as well as illegal, the petitioner has prayed the Court to direct Vatal Nagaraj to deposit Rs.500 crore security for carrying out the bandh and the same to be disbursed as relief.

According to the petitioner, despite Apex Court’s guidelines issued in Destruction of Public Properties vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and others (2009) and also in Communist Party of India vs. Bharat Kumar case in 1998, all political parties and pro-activist groups continue to call for bandh.

“No party has a right to initiate bandh causing hardship to the people by forcing them from exercising their lawful activities,” the petitioner claimed while contending that the Government was duty-bound to prevent bandh, which invades people’s life, liberty and property.

The petitioner has sought a declaration from the Court that bandh calls “unconstitutional.”

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