The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Salary slash notice final
- Govt to abide by court order and call bandhs illegal

Calcutta, Nov. 11: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government will publish a notification declaring bandhs illegal and unconstitutional in accordance with yesterday's high court directive.

In the notification, to be published in city dailies in a few days, the government will also announce that salaries of employees absent on a bandh day will be deducted.

State chief secretary Asok Gupta today said: 'I will abide by the high court directive. A notification will be published in the newspapers within a couple of days.'

Asked about the exact text of his notice, the chief secretary said: 'It will be published in your newspaper. You can go through it. If you have any further queries, I will suggest you discuss the matter with me only after publication of the notification.'

The chief minister declined comment when approached by reporters at the Calcutta Information Centre. Appearing irritated, Bhattacharjee said: 'You people are trying to extract a comment, but I will not speak a word.'

A signed copy of the vacation division bench's directive reached the chief secretary's office late last evening.

The Telegraph has a copy of the order that asks the government to resist bandhs.

Three parties have called bandhs on November 17, 22 and December 3 to protest against several issues, including the hike in fuel prices.

The court order says: 'The state government being a constitutional functionary is duty-bound to resist the bandh by deploying sufficient police force and by plying sufficient vehicles'

It also asks the chief secretary to take all possible measures to protect the fundamental rights of people. 'The sate government cannot bypass the issue that they have (a) constitutional responsibility to protect the citizens' fundamental rights.'

Idris Ali, the lawyer representing the AlI India Minority Forum, the petitioner challenging the validity of the November 17 bandh called by the SUCI, said it was unfortunate that the party has stuck to its call even after the court's observations opposing shutdowns.

SUCI state secretary Prabhas Ghosh today said the party would go ahead with the bandh.

Ali said: 'I will move a petition demanding contempt proceedings against the SUCI state secretary, who has openly declared that his party would enforce the bandh on November 17. I will also move similar petitions against the CPI(ML) Liberation, and the Trinamul Congress, who have called the bandhs on November 22 and December 3.'

Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy said the party is yet to get a copy of the high court order. 'We have not taken any decision on withdrawing or deferring the bandh. We have not received the court order. We are now busy with Kali puja and Diwali celebrations,' he said.

In an unprecedented outburst yesterday, Justice Pratap Kumar Roy had also held the CPM among parties that indulge in the politics of bandhs and accused it of introducing them to the state.

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