Kerala HC raps state govt for soft-pedalling on recovering damages from banned PFI

The Kerala High Court on Monday rapped the Pinarayi Vijayan government over the delay in recovery of damages from banned Popular Front of India (PFI) and its office-bearers, for the day they had called for a state-wide shut down in September.

The state had informed the court that the total damages caused to properties across the state had come to Rs 5.20 crore during the flash shutdown called by the PFI on September 23 to protest the arrest of their top brass by Central agencies the previous day.

Incidentally, it was the division bench of Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice C.P. Mohammed Nias took suo moto proceedings against the PFI and directed all the lower courts, wherever the cases have been registered, to see that no one from it should be given bail unless the compensation is paid.

If the compensation is not paid, then proceedings should be taken to confiscate personal assets of all those who indulged in the destruction, it said.

“Whenever the word hartal is said, it has a different meaning among the citizens. People are living in perpetual fear. What does a common man have to do with this? Common man suffers, and for what? Not supporting an ideology of yours?” the court asked.

It came down heavily on the Vijayan government for not having done anything substantial to this effect, despite being asked to do so by the court.

Incidentally the government had informed the court last month that necessary directions to initiate revenue recovery has been given to the Revenue Department and it would be done in a month’s time.

Unhappy with the tardy progress, the court told off the government for such a callous attitude when called upon to implement the directions, especially in matters of public interest and involving destruction.

It then asked the Additional Chief Secretary to appear before the court on Friday with a road map for collecting the Rs 5.20 crore, adding that under no circumstances would this be allowed to go beyond January 31.

The government informed the court that 487 cases were registered in the state with 1,992 people arrested and 687 taken into preventive custody.

20221219-164802

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