NEPAL – A country of Bandhs! (Forced Strikes and Shutdown)
- In December 2009, a total of 67 Bandhs were organised in 31 days!
- Until January 22, 2010, a total of 40 bandhs have been organised already
- A website has now been setup disseminating Bandh Information to the public: www.nepalbandh.com
In 1998 following an Indian Court vedict banning Bandhs in an Indian state, I was inspired by the desicison and morally/tactilly/logistically backed by my supervising attorney Advocate Krishna Prasad Bhandari. We filed an Injunction (nishedhagyaa) with the Appellate Court of Patan, against the bandh organisers and the local government and authorities in failing to curb the increasing numbers of bandhs in Nepal.
Ironically, the injunction was scrapped citing locus standi, where a grieved party should have been present. I claimed my locus standi as an active lawyer, using motorbike as a regular transportation and fearing adequate danger of physical-financial damages from the srike announcers. The bench was stiff.
The only remedy was to move forward to the Supreme Court of Nepal with a Writ Jurisdiction and we did so. This time around, the Registrar of the Supreme Court and the Court Administration refused from regsitering the case as a baseless and flawed claim wherein neither the plaintiff nor the defendents could be identified as a person.
The case did not go through, except to the National media, eagerly awaiting for the results. The result – Res Judicata.
Successful Ban in Bandhs in India – Imposed by Supreme Court – Violaters slapped with Contempt of Court
In 1998 Supreme Court judgment [in CPI(M) versus Bharat Kumar & Ors], which upheld a Kerala High Court ruling of 1997, held all ‘bandhs’ — as distinct from ‘general strikes’ and ‘hartals’ — to be unconstitutional on the grounds that they “trampled upon the rights of the citizens of the country protected by the Constitution” and were “not in the interests of the nation,” tending to “retard the progress of the nation by leading to national loss of production.”
Asam and Meghalaya recently banned ‘Bandhs’. Gauhati High Court verdict declared bandhs in Assam and Meghalaya illegal and unconstitutional in a PIL filed against bandhs in Assam after clubbing it with a similar petition against such undemocratic strikes in Meghalaya. Invoking the Supreme Court ruling on bandhs, the division bench of Chief Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justice Arun Chandra Upadhyay directed both the governments of Assam and Meghalaya to strictly implement the apex court directive by taking all necessary steps for preventing infringement of various fundamental rights of citizens on account of various calls of bandhs given by different political parties and other organizations.
The Supreme Court had in 1998 held that bandhs called by any political parties or organized bodies were violative of the fundamental rights of citizens apart from causing national loss, and therefore, were declared illegal and unconstitutional.
The crux of the court ruling — that bandhs violate fundamental rights — is beyond contestation. For, a bandh call is essentially an autocratic and criminal decree: ‘‘You must observe it, else you will be harmed to any extent because enforcers of the bandh will go to any extent to ensure that the bandh is total.’’
In 2004, the Supreme Court of India fined two political parties, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena for organizing a bandh in Mumbai as a protest against bomb blasts in the city. The state with the maximum Bandhs in India is West Bengal where the average number of bandhs per year is 40-50 (ranging from a couple of hours to a maximum of 2 days per bandh).