The bench observed that the bandh calls given by Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha on January 25 and February 4 "violates the democratic rights of citizens".
Terming it unconstitutional, the Karnataka High Court today stayed the bandh called by pro-Kannada farmers’ groups in the city on Sunday on the Mahadayi water dispute issue. Passing an interim order, a division bench of acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar asked the Siddaramaiah government to take appropriate steps to prevent breakdown of law and order on that date. The bandh call on February 4 coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rally in Bengaluru. The bench observed that the bandh calls given by Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha on January 25 and February 4 “violates the democratic rights of citizens”. The bandh was called to protest the “inaction” by the central and state governments to resolve the Mahadayi river water sharing row.
“Earlier, the prominent judgements of Supreme Court had declared bandhs by political parties and others as unconstitutional, and hence it is appropriate for this honourable court to adhere to the order as it violates the democratic rights of the citizens,” the bench observed. The petition was filed by Bengaluru-based ‘Shraddha Parents Association’ seeking a direction from the court to term the bandh calls unconstitutional. The bench also considered the petitioner’s submission that bandhs resulted in loss to the nation in so many ways, other than damaging public or private properties. The petitioner also sought a direction to government to take steps to prevent initiation of bandhs by any organisation.