Election year: Kerala bill to enable roadside public meetings


Thiruvananthapuram : At a time when elections are due in the state, Kerala assembly Wednesday took up a bill to circumvent last year’s high court ruling against holding public meetings on the roadside.

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The bill titled Kerala Public Ways Restriction of Assemblies and Processions 2011 was moved by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. In a rare show of unity between the treasury and the opposition, it was moved, accepted and the decision was taken to send it to the subject committee of the assembly.

Last year the Kerala High Court ruled that roads should be free from any public meeting and also any sort of assembly of people, including for religious festivals.

Following this, senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader M.V. Jayarajan lashed out at the judiciary, using unparliamentarily words against the verdict.

Following a public interest litigation filed against Jayarajan for attacking the judiciary, the court moved contempt proceedings against him and the hearing on the case has begun.

At that time the Kerala government decided that the only way out was by framing a new law in the assembly.

A legislator, on condition of anonymity, told IANS the bill is expected to be passed in the current session of the assembly because elections are round the corner.

“The subject committee is expected to return the bill at the earliest and if things go according to plan, this would be passed before the current session ends on Feb 24. Incidentally this is also the last session of this assembly,” said the legislator.