The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up the state government for not following the guidelines set out by the court with regard to handling of bandhs (general strike) in 2004.
A division bench of Justice JN Patel and Justice KK Tated observed that the government should incorporate these guidelines into legislations such as the Bombay Police Act.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Varsha Deshpande,a Satara-based lawyer,alleging that authorities did not take necessary action during the three bandhs that took place in the district in 2007. Her lawyer Udya Warunjkar pointed out that despite the 2004 guidelines of the HC,authorities did nothing. As for the bandhs in Satara,the court has sought report from district police superintendent in four weeks.
The guidelines were framed by a division bench led by Justice AP Shah in a July 2004 judgement,which imposed a penalty of Rs 40 lakh on Shiv Sena and BJP for a bandh.
The guidelines include,among other things,a notice to the organisation/political party calling the bandh pointing out that it would be liable for any loss of life,injury,or loss of livelihood on account of the bandh.
The court on Wednesday observed in the order: There have been recurring instances of bandh called by political parties (after the 2004 judgement). The court further observed that the party members have indulged in violent activities and the state has failed to take concrete steps to prevent it.
The court has directed that henceforth no party would be allowed to call a bandh or a rally or protest in any other form which may disturb public order.
The court also said that guidelines would apply not only to registered parties/organisations but even unregistered outfits.The court expressed hope that henceforth these guidelines would be followed and if not,the court will take suo-motu action.