KOCHI: The Hartal Bill also recommends that hartal organisers should not disrupt functioning of shops, trade centres and other business establishments by creating road blocks.
The Bill also stipulates that hartals should not, in any way, affect the lives of people, or, cause damage to government/public property.
Geojit BNP Paribas MD C J George, who is a leading businessman in the State, said it should be seen how the people would respond to the provisions of the Bill. “Hartals are successful in Kerala not because of the power or mass-base of the organisations which call them. People cooperate with them out of fear. We need to see how the fear factor is removed through the Bill,” he said, adding that as a businessman he was happy that the government was taking steps to discourage such protests.
“However, draconian provisions should be avoided as it would infringe on individuals’/parties’ right to protest,” he added.
The Bill also gives powers to the police to enforce law and order and take action against those who try to ‘impose’ hartals by force. Those who violate provisions in the Bill could invite prison term up to six months or a fine of `10,000, or, both. Those who try to prevent people from attending offices and visiting hospitals, medical store, hotels and petrol pumps will also invite the same punishment, as per the draft Bill.
The Bill also gives the power to deny bail to those who fail to submit the compensation amount imposed by the police for damages caused by them.