HC bans bandh again, asks SPs to file FIR against bandh callers

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 19: While upholding its ban on bandh calls given by various organisations, Gauhati High Court Tuesday directed the superintendents of police (SPs) to file FIR against the organisations which call for such bandhs. The High Court also asked the police to report the state home department on loss and damages of public property due to such bandhs, road and rail blockade within seven days from the date of occurrence.

A single bench judge of the High Court comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan said that the court will monitor the steps taken by the SPs against such bandhs and blockades in every three months.

The High court also asked the SPs to lodge FIR against the leader of organisations which call for such bandhs and blockades within 24 hours and file chargesheets against them immediately.

The court also urged the Assam Police Accountability Commission to monitor the steps taken by the SPs to prevent such bandhs and blockades in the state. It also asked the home department to file contempt cases against the bandh callers and take up departmental proceeding against the SPs who do not file chargesheets against bandh callers.

The court also said the contempt case will be filed against the state home department in case of its failure to file contempt case against the bandh callers. It further asked the state home department to ascertain the damage and recover it from the office bearers of the organisation which call for the bandh. It also suggested for creation of a Bandh Loss Compensation Fund in the state.

Way back in 2010, the High Court declared all bandhs in Assam and Meghalaya as illegal and said it is a violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens.

As per government records, in 2018 Assam had incurred around Rs 881.40 crore loses due to 13 statewide bandhs. An amount of Rs 67.80 crore was incurred against every statewide bandh. Also, 16 local bandhs were observed in Assam in 2018.

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