Government proposes legislation to restrict harthals

Home Minister Ramesh ChennithalaTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government proposes to bring a legislation to restrict harthals in the State.

As per the draft proposal, the Bill will have a provision that organisers should announce harthals three days in advance through mass media. The Government will have the power to ban the proposed harthal if it is convinced that there is possibility of violence during observation of harthal.

The Bill is being proposed by the Home Department in view complaints and representations received by it regarding hardships to public caused by harthals and the directives of the High Court on imposing restrictions on harthals.

The Bill seeks to specify that forced closure of shops and blocking movement of citizens would be an offence punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of Rs. 10000 or both.

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has sought the opinions of the public and political, social and cultural leaders on the draft Bill.