Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led UDF government in Kerala on Friday accorded sanction to present the draft of state Hartal Regulation Bill, intended to regulate hartals, in the coming Assembly session beginning from November 30.
The Cabinet meeting, held here, decided to gave approval to the draft for the Bill which mainly aims to check flash hartals.
The state government move comes in the wake of widespread criticism from different sections of the society on the frequent hartal calls made by various political parties and other outfits even on flimsy grounds.
As per the proposed draft, the forceful shutting down of shops or restricting officials from attending offices will invite six months imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both, according to an official statement here.
The bill also proposes similar punishments in such cases if any person is restricted from visiting hospital, hotel, educational institution or petrol pumps during the hartal day, it said.
Functioning of hospitals, health clinics, medical shops, pharmacy, distribution of milk, newspaper, fish, water, food, ambulances and hospital vehicles should not be hindered in the name of hartals, the bill proposes.
In order to give compensation to the loss of life and other materials, money is to be remitted in advance by those who are executing hartal. Working of educational institutions or charity organizations should not be hindered and law and order is to be followed.
Six months imprisonment, or up to Rs 10,000 fine or both will be given to those who exercise hartals against these norms, it said.
Police and other agencies should give protection to carry out the norms. Officials who fail to do this will have to give a fine of up to Rs 10,000, it said.
The bill also envisages no to take up legal action or punishment for carrying out duties abiding the law, the statement added.