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Since 1st March, 1999
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HC poser to Arunachal on strikes

- Explain steps, govt told

Guwahati, Feb. 21: Gauhati High Court today directed the Arunachal Pradesh government to specify steps taken to curb strikes in the state.

A division bench of Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Arup Kumar Goswami today issued a notice to the chief secretary of Arunachal Pradesh to furnish details of steps taken by the state government to prevent strikes in the state which not only endanger public property but also obstruct normal life of the citizens.

The high court passed today’s order during hearing of a PIL (number 54/2012) filed by Arun Kumar Pathak, a businessman, seeking the court’s directions to the government to take adequate steps to control strikes in Assam.

The PIL was filed following disruption of public life and loss of lives and property caused during the strikes called by Bajrang Dal and the Assam Minorities Students’ Union (Amsu) on August 27 and 28 last year.

The high court today issued a notice to the Arunachal Pradesh government in this case because the state too is affected by frequent strikes called by different organisations. The court today fixed March 27 as the next date of hearing of the PIL.

During a previous hearing of the case, the high court had issued a similar notice to the Manipur government as it was also one of the worst-affected states.

The petitioner’s advocate, Bhaskar Dev Konwar, said he drew the attention of the court that in the Northeast, Manipur is worst affected by strikes followed by Arunachal Pradesh and the court also included both these states during hearing of the PIL.

In this case, the Assam government had submitted in the court that a task force has been constituted on December 4, 2012, to suggest a suitable policy/legislation. The state government informed the court that the suggestions of the task force would be examined by a retired judge of the Supreme Court before being adopted by the government.

According to the state government, it is looking into the matter with a view to bring about a suitable legislation.

The high court asked the Assam government to have a consistent policy in this matter instead of taking action on selective basis.

In January 2010, the high court had declared strikes “illegal and unconstitutional” as these violate the citizens’ Fundamental Rights.

The order was passed in the light of a 1997 Supreme Court order upholding a Kerala High Court’s judgment declaring strikes “illegal”.

The 2010 verdict was passed in connection with two PILs filed by two citizens’ groups seeking declaration of strikes as illegal and unconstitutional in Assam and Meghalaya. The petitioners contended that frequent strikes were having a negative impact on the economy and education, among others.