Kochi: Observing that `forced` hartals were `illegal`, Kerala High Court on Thursday said there was a need for enactment of a law granting suo motu powers to a competent authority to deal with matters relating to claims, assessment of compensation and recovery for those who have suffered losses during such shut downs.
"There is need for enactment of law granting suo motu powers to a competent authority to call for claims, assessment of compensation and recovery etc in cases in connection with loss during hartals," the court said.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shaffique made the observations disposing of a batch of petitions against `forced` hartals.
The petitioners submitted that the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, had lost about Rs eight crore on ticket sales and damage to window panes in stone throwing incidents by hartal supporters following a series of hartals in 2008.
So there should be a mechanism to compensate those who suffered losses.
The bench said only if such an enactment is there, the menace of `forced hartals` can be dealt with.
"Forced hartals are illegal and calling for the same for any reason is becoming a normal practise," the bench held.
A full bench of the high court had in July 1997 banned bandhs and the apex court had dismissed the then Left Front Government`s Special Leave Petition to get the order reversed.
However, bandhs were renamed as hartals, and are continuing to thrive in the state causing huge loss to various quarters.