Order of the Kerala High Court regarding encroachment of public spaces for holding rallies and demonstrations, Kerala, 08/06/2021

  • 08/06/2021

Order of the Kerala High Court in the matter of W.P.(C) No.11886 of 2021 dated 08/06/2021. This writ petition is one filed by Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with its President seeking a writ of mandamus commanding the respondents as well as law enforcement agencies including Police to formulate and issue guidelines for earmarking certain public areas in State of Kerala for the purpose of holding mass assemblies, including protests, campaigns, demonstrations, etc.

The bench of Justices Anil K. Narendran and Ziyad Rahman of the Kerala High Court said that despite the enactment of the Kerala Public Ways (Restriction of Assemblies and Processions) Act, 2011 by the state legislature and the law laid down by the Supreme Court and the Kerala High Court - the state and the law enforcement machinery have not taken necessary steps to ensure strict enforcement of the relevant statutory provisions and also the Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities formulated by Indian Roads Congress.

The orders and guidelines were passed to prevent encroachment of any nature, in any form, either temporary or permanent, on the right of way or on the pedestrian facilities on public roads, since any such encroachment would adversely affect the mobility and safety of all pedestrians including those with disabilities and reduced mobility, the order said.

The Kerala HC directed the state government to file a counter affidavit explaining the steps taken to ensure strict enforcement of the orders of the Supreme Court, Kerala High Court and the provisions and Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities formulated by the Indian Roads Congress to prevent encroachment of any nature, in any form, either temporary or permanent, on the right of way or pedestrian facilities on public roads.