Unobstructed train movement in national interest: HC

Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Haryana Government to immediately get the rail tracks cleared of protesters to restore normal movement of trains.

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2011, 20:35 PM IST

Chandigarh: With the Jat agitation paralysing
rail traffic in parts of northern India, the Punjab and
Haryana High Court on Thursday directed the Haryana Government to
immediately get the rail tracks cleared of protesters to
restore normal movement of trains.

Giving the direction on a PIL filed by city-based NGO
National Consumer Awareness Group Society, the Division bench
headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed that unaffected
and unobstructed train movement throughout the length and
breadth of the country was in national interest.

The Bench, also comprising Justice Kanwaljeet Singh
Ahluwalia, directed all the groups who are spearheading the
Jat agitation demanding reservation in Central government jobs
to exclude the blockades of trains from their agitational
programmes with immediate effect.

It will, however, be open for them to continue their
agitation, if they so desire, in any other peaceful legitimate
and non-violent manner, the court said.

On Tuesday, the High Court had directed the Haryana
Government to inform it by today about the steps taken to
restore normal movement of the trains.

The bench observed today that though it was primarily for
the executive arm to handle situations like the present one as
maintenance of law and order is a function of the state, the
courts cannot remain a mute spectator and can also take notice
of several newspaper articles of today and yesterday.

The bench further observed that the ongoing agitation, as
per the material before the court, has caused large-scale
disruption of train movement including that of trains on the
Delhi-Chandigarh route, which has resulted in enormous loss of
revenue, besides inconvenience to the public.

The bench held that taking into account all the
circumstances, they were of the view that the different
agitating groups who may have a right to agitate for redressal
of their just grievances have to limit the modes of agitation
within the parameters of law, without adversely affecting
national interest.

Earlier, an affidavit was filed by the state of Haryana
and it was mentioned that though police force and paramilitary
force in requisite has been mobilised to deal with the
situation, use of force at this stage was not considered
expedient as the same may become counter-productive because
the situation was surcharged and any error of judgment or a
pre-mature use of force could trigger large-scale violence.

The ongoing three-week-long stir by Jats has badly
affected rail traffic in northern India, forcing the Northern
Railways to cancel several trains and divert routes of some
others.

The Jats are demanding quota for the community in Central
government jobs under OBC category.

With disruption in the supply of coal, the Rajiv Gandhi
Thermal Power Plant, Khedar, Hisar has been closed.

PTI