PFI Hartal: HC asks govt to recover loss incurred by KSRTC from protesters

Photo: Mathrubhumi/VK Aji

Kochi: Kerala High Court here on Saturday pronounced that the loss incurred by KSRTC during the hartal observed by Popular Front of India (PFI) on Friday must be recovered from protesters. Several KSRTC buses were attacked by hartal supporters across the state. As per the data released by the transport minister Antony Raju, KSRTC incurred a loss of Rs 30 lakh.

The court viewed that people who called for the hartal and vandalised KSRTC buses are liable to pay the compensation to KSRTC. Additionally, the court also directed the state government to recoup losses incurred due to disruptions in KSRTC services.

As per the existing rules, the accused is eligible for bail only after submitting the compensation to the court. If they fail to do so, the government has the option to confiscate the properties owned by the accused.

Kerala Government has been asked to inform the court about the actions taken to recover the money from the accused. The government should share this with the chief secretary and the transport department secretary.

Earlier, High Court said the hartal called by the PFI on Friday was prima facie contempt of court since it went against a 2019 order passed by it on such protests.

Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar said despite its 2019 order, a call for a flash hartal was made on Thursday by the PFI. The court took a suo motu case against PFI, the radical Islamic outfit, and its state general secretary over declaring hartal in Kerala.

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