The Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vs. State of Kerala
Justices- Anil K Narendran and Ziyad Rahman AA
Petition filed by the Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry seeking directions to the State Government and other law enforcement agencies to earmark certain areas in the State for the purpose of holding mass assemblies including protests, demonstrations etc.
The petitioner, represented by advocate Shashank Devan, alleged that protests and demonstrations held in public places, including roads and footpaths, were severely inconveniencing the general public and commercial establishments around those places.
Observation- Political parties cannot be allowed to encroach upon footpaths or public roads by erecting temporary structures for demonstrations, protests etc, the Kerala High Court recently observed, asking the State government to explain the steps taken by it to prevent such transgressions.
''The protesters/agitators having political backing are even permitted to lay carpet and place chairs on the footpath. On account of such encroachments, pedestrians including those with disabilities and reduced mobility are forced to walk through the right of way of public roads, in unsafe circumstances," the Court observed.''
No political party or organisation can be permitted to encroach footpath or right of way of public roads, in connection with any such protest, demonstrations, etc., by erecting any temporary structures on the right of way or on the pedestrian facilities, forcing pedestrians including those with disabilities and reduced mobility to walk in unsafe circumstances.
"Footpaths are not intended for stocking articles for trade or for display of goods by traders, in front of their shops or establishments. Similarly, footpaths are not intended for the purpose of holding campaigns, demonstrations, etc., by political parties and other organisations, by causing any obstruction whatsoever to free movement of pedestrians," the order passed by the Court said.
The Court, therefore, deemed it appropriate to suo motu implead the Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department; the Additional Chief Secretary, Local Self Government Department; and also the Transport Commissioner, Kerala, as additional respondents to the petition.