Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

[Gawking Charges] State To Amend Headload Workers Act, Issue Circulars To All Police Stations: Kerala High Court

Hannah M Varghese
23 Nov 2021 4:22 PM GMT
[Gawking Charges] State To Amend Headload Workers Act, Issue Circulars To All Police Stations: Kerala High Court
x

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the State over the continued prevalence of the appalling practice of demanding gawking charges, often referred to as 'nokkukooli' in Malayalam.This is not the first time Justice Devan Ramachandran has accentuated upon the need to eradicate the practice from the State. However, today, the Court was adamant about finding a solution to...

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the State over the continued prevalence of the appalling practice of demanding gawking charges, often referred to as 'nokkukooli' in Malayalam.

This is not the first time Justice Devan Ramachandran has accentuated upon the need to eradicate the practice from the State. However, today, the Court was adamant about finding a solution to this problem. 

The Government Pleader informed the Court that the State was planning to amend the Kerala Headload Workers Act, 1978 in a manner favourable to the directions issued by the Bench. 

Accordingly, in its order, the Court mentioned:

"...the government intends to amend the Headload Workers Act to grant power to the competent authority to expel the registered worker who is established to have demanded nokkukooli (gawking charges) along with the imposition of heavy penalties. As I already mentioned, every demand for nokukooli can only be seen as extortion and nothing else." 

'Any Attempt To Demand Gawking Charges To Be Treated As Extortion & Penalised Under Most Stringent Provisions': Kerala High Court

Additionally, it was ordered that the State government must issue a circular to all Police Stations and competent authorities under the Act to register cases for extortion and other offences against any person making a demand for nokukooli. 

"What was intended as beneficial legislation in the 1960s and 70s has become a measure for extortion. The fact remains that people immediately relate Kerala with militant trade unionism," the Bench remarked during the hearing. 

 The matter will be taken up again on 8th December within which time the State Police Chief report to the Court regarding the circular and the State should inform the progress made in the amendments.  

Despite a ban on gawking wages being imposed almost a decade ago, the ban was not yet fully implemented.

It was previously pointed out by the Court that the primary reason for fewer employment opportunities in the State was the inhibition among people to invest in Kerala.

Gawking wages' is a term used to refer to the extortion by organized labour unions in Kerala under which wages are paid to trade union activists for allowing common householders/ investors/builders to unload belongings/materials using machines or their own labour.

Also Read: Tarnishes State's Reputation: Kerala High Court Urges Complete Abolition Of Gawking Wages In The State

Case Title: T.K.Sundaresan v. District Police Chief 


Next Story