A Law to regulate Hartal coming soon in Kerala? [Read the Draft Bill]
The Kerala Regulation of Hartal Bill Draft has been published in Kerala Legislative Assembly web portal. Comments and Suggestions from the members of Public are also invited which may be submitted to Secretary, Select Committee, The Kerala Regulation of Hartal Bill , Niyamasabha Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram, before 5th February, 2015. A questionnaire is (in Malayalam) also seen published seeking suggestions from the public.
Section 2 of the Draft Bill defines a Hartal as a “cessation of activity in any form or of business or occupation or service, at the instance of any other person or organization, for the purpose of creating public pressure, social tension, economic intimidation or apprehension of violence in order to advance a cause or a campaign sponsored by the organizers of the hartal”. However Trade Union Strikes do not fall under the ambit of the definition by virtue of the explanation appended to the section.
Regulation and Conditions of Hartal
Section 3 and 4 of the Bill explains how the Hartal should not be conducted and the pre requisites before conducting a Hartal
- No Right to call or conduct Hartal
- Three day public notice through media
- Security deposit before Hartal
- Cannot enforce a hartal by force, intimidation whether physical or mental or by coercion
- Cannot stop, control or otherwise deal with the movement of any person, agency' business or instrumentality
- Cannot deter or obstruct or cause to deter or obstruct the utility services or normal functioning of any public institution.
- Cannot obstruct any trade, business or undertaking or-transport vehicle or facility or compel to close or stop them totally or partially;
- Should not cause in any manner a threat or apprehension or risk to life, liberty or property of any citizen or destruction of life and property or damage to any Government property or to endanger public peace and public order
Offences under the Act
Six months imprisonment is prescribed for the following persons
- Whoever calls for, or conducts, hartal in violation of the provisions of this Act
- Any person who forcibly prevents another person on the ground of a hartal from attending his work, visiting a hospital, hotel, educational institution or fuel delivery station or using transport facility, shall
Police duty-bound to help persons affected by Hartal
Section 6 of the Draft Bill says that, if any one prevents the exercise of anyperson’s legal rights using force or threatening to use force during hartal hours, the State police or other law and order authorities of the State shall, on request by such person or persons shall help him for the exercise of such rights. The Bill also says that any failure in this regard shall be treated as a dereliction of duty on the part of the officer concerned.
Image from here.
Read the Draft bill here.