SC slams DMK, Stays TN Bandh call

published on September 30, 2007


New Delhi:Ruling DMK front in Tamil Nadu today suffered a major setback with the Supreme Court restraining them from going ahead with the state-wide bandh tomorrow on the Sethusamudram project issue.


Holding a rare sitting on a Sunday, a bench of Acting Chief Justice B N Aggrawal and P P Naolekar ordered that the DMK and its allies shall not go ahead with the bandh either on October one or any other date, as the bandh per se was illegal and unconstitutional in view of the apex court’s earlier ruling on the validity of “bandhs.”


The apex court passed the direction on an “urgent application” filed by the opposition AIADMK along with its special leave petition seeking an injunction against the bandh.


The three-hours arguments that preceded the direction was laced with scathing and stinging remarks from the bench which minced no words in expressing its strong displeasure on the very concept of bandh and the perceived defiance of law by the citizens in the country, not to mention the political parties.


“That’s the problem in this country. We have to deal everything with an iron hand in this country. Otherwise things will not work. Every organ, let it be the legislature, executive or judiciary has to deal with an iron hand,” the apex court observed.


Recalling that the apex court had in 1998 clearly upheld the ruling of a full bench of the Kerala High Court that calling or enforcing a bandh was illegal and unconstitutional, the bench regretted that orders of the courts were being violated with impunity in the country.


“We have come to this stage in the country that everything has to be monitored, hammered or directed by courts. Even orders of the Supreme Court are not observed, what to talk of the High Courts. Ninety-nine per cent of the High Court orders are not complied,” the apex court said.


The apex court rejected arguments of senior counsel Altaf Ahmed and A K Ganguly appearing for Tamil Nadu and the DMK that the October one protest programme was not a bandh call but rather a “hartal”.


“If it is a bandh then it is a breakdown of the Constitutional machinery.Your own resolution says that the programme on October 1, is intended to ensure complete cessation of all activities, then how can you say it is not a bandh?,” the bench grilled the Tamil Nadu counsel.


The bench brushed aside the claims of the State and the DMK that what was essentially intended was a public meeting.


“Where is the public meeting you show us. Your resolution say it is cessation of all activities and work. You want to show your popularity. Why do you want to close all down educational institutions and commercial activities. Where will you then find the people for your meetings,” the apex court asked in a sarcastic tone.

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