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Adani Vizhinjam Port | Kerala High Court Says Police Not Powerless; Protestors Agree To Allow Entry Of Heavy Vehicles At Project Site

Navya Benny
22 Nov 2022 12:38 PM GMT
Adani Vizhinjam Port | Kerala High Court Says Police Not Powerless; Protestors Agree To Allow Entry Of Heavy Vehicles At Project Site

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday said that protestors in Vizhinjam need to comply with its orders for unhindered ingress and egress to Adani Project site.

Justice Anu Sivaraman said:

"There is the authorization by this court to see that ingress and egress is provided. It is not as if the police or Central forces are powerless. It is only to see that there is no law and order situation, and the people who are there are not put to peril. Please don't take that as a trump card. It is not very difficult to see that the order is complied with. Just removing the pandhal is not a difficult proposition for anybody. To say that there is some kind of inability either in this court to pass an order or in the police to carry out that order is a misapprehension".

It added that while a group of people could certainly agitate, they could not hold the entire public to ransom.

"The problems faced by the persons in the locality are understood by everyone. Whether the demands that are raised are met, is a completely different question," the court said

Observing that multiple directions have been issued by the court in the matter, the court said: "We cannot drag this on endlessly, there is a breaking point to everything".

The counsel for the petitioners submitted today that it has been two months now since the court had passed orders for police protection of the employees and workmen of M/S Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Limited and its contracting company, Howe Engineering Construction and for free ingress and egress at the site.

It was further submitted that even after filing of the contempt petition and several subsequent interim orders, there appears to be not much change to the status quo and the work continues to remain stalled.

The counsel submitted that one of the main demands of the respondents was that the work has to be abandoned, and that for the past 100 days now no work has been going on.

The counsel said that it has to be considered whether the protestors had benefited in any manner from such stoppage of work. "Merely because of stoppage of work, they are not going to be benefited in any manner, at all, except that they can hold on to this strike indefinitely," the counsel submitted.

It was submitted that despite court order, the protestors have failed to remove the pandhal on the road leading to the site.

"They feel this pandhal is something of a sacrosanct structure which cannot be touched. But two days ago, when a religious procession came in, they accommodated it in such a manner that the religious process goes. So in absolute defiance of the Court's order, they have continued," the counsel submitting adding that two days ago the protestors also celebrated 100 days of the protest.

The counsel also claimed that the large number of people including pregnant women at the pandhal were not there out of their free will and volition, but have been asked to be there by the members of the clergy.

"Rule of Law is not there now, this sends a wrong message. Something has to be done by this Court," the counsel submitted.

The court recorded the submission made by the counsels for the protestors that the heavy vehicles being brought by the Adani Vizhinjam Port and its contracting company to the project site for construction on Friday would not be blocked by them.

The matter has been posted to Monday for further consideration.

The contempt petition had been filed through Advocates Roshen D. Alexander, Tina Alex Thomas, Harimohan M., Roshen & Roshen Advocates.

State Attorney and Government Pleader N. Manoj Kumar; Senior Advocate V.J. Mathew, and Advocates Vipin P. Varghese, Adarsh Mathew, Kevin Mathew George, Meera Elsa George, and Merlin Mathew appeared on behalf of the various respondents.

Case Title: M/S Adani Vizhinjam Ports Pvt Ltd & Ors v. Dr. V.P. Joy IAS & Ors.

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