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Joju & Arun ! It concerns me too, but…!

Being an admirer of good actors and great films, i am an ardent fan of Mr. Joju George, who is one among the fine and realistic actors of Malayalam film industry. Whenever I see Mr.Joju George on screen, I felt a striking similarity , especially of his rough and tough looks, with my friend Mr Arun A Unnithan, who is the Managing Director of Cordon Builders and Realtors Private Limited. But I never conveyed his striking similarity with Joju, as I do not want to unnecessarily foster his self-esteem !

It may be strange and coincidental that both of them were on news on recent days for same or similar reasons for getting physically and verbally abused and attacked by political outfits for expressing their strong opinion, not for their own benefits but for the society in general. Out to sheer curiosity I had tried to relate both of them, beyond their appearance, by looking from a legal perspective and astonished to see the similarity in both the cases. Alas!. I could find that they are not just look alike but are severely oppressed and manhandled for expressing their opinion against the political goons!!

Recently it was on newspapers that Mr. Arun A Unnithan, District Vice Chairman and State Committee Member, Builders Association of India and Secretary of CREDAI had got manhandled by a trade union leader, in the presence of a mooted District Labour Officer, for demanding a parity in the loading and unloading rates of Thiruvananthapuram, especially for construction materials such as cement and steel. The newspapers reported that the Builders Forum had requested for a 12 months period freeze on rates of twelve construction materials, which will help the construction industry in particular and the common man is general. The construction rates of Thiruvananthapuram, which is already skyrocketed will get drastically affected if the demands of the politically induced trade union leaders are approved and the same shall directly impact the common man who is looking for a solace in the midst of ever spiraling fuel price rates. By reading the news, I got bit astonished by the level of investor friendliness maintained at the State of Kerala and had got disappointed by the politically driven ‘goondaism’ which had gripped over my neck like a tightrope. Are we going to get freedom from this, ever?

Similarly, at Vytilla, Kochi, Mr.Joju George had got abused and his Land Rover got wrecked for questioning the political stalwarts, who were staging protest by shamelessly blocking the public roads during busy business hours! The only mistake, Mr Joju had done is to question the political outfits for their brazen deeds. They claimed to be staging protest against the amplifying fuel prices and , of course, they have all freedom to do so. But they have no right to block the roads and harass thousands of people in the name of the protest. It is not less than political militancy!

The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala had recently made a serious and stern observations on the ‘Nokkukooli”, which is a social bane and had severely criticized the State Government for not taking any action against those highly unethical and illegal practices. The said observation was based on the recent incident where an ISRO truck was blocked by workers demanding gawking wages and remarked that such incidents were insulting to the State. Justice Devan Ramachandran expressed his strong disappointment over the matter and noted the militant nature of the trade unions as extremely against the investor community and general public and pointed out that no one will invest in the State if the situation continues like this. The Bench went on and made a strong observation that This is shameful. As a citizen of the State, this issue concerns me." The Bench had directed the respondents to refrain from taking the law into their hands or to make any illegal demands against the petitioner or his workers in any manner. The physical and verbal abuse of Mr. Arun A Unnithan by Trade union leader is the recent among such endless incidents but definitely not going to be the last one.

Similarly, in the matter of The Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vs. State of Kerala the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala had clearly directed the State that no political party or organisation can be permitted to encroach footpath or right of way of public roads, in connection with any protests or demonstrations. Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. was hearing a petition filed for writ of mandamus against the law enforcement agencies to formulate and issue guidelines for earmarking certain public areas in the State for holding mass assemblies, including protests and campaigns. This Court in an earlier decision of Sivaprasad v. State of Kerala & Ors [2020 (6) KHC 373] had observed that footpaths or pavements are public properties intended to serve the convenience of the general public and to ensure that the pedestrians can go about their daily affairs with reasonable measure of safety and security. It was also held that removal of encroachments on the footpaths obstructing the right of passage is reasonable, fair or just. However, the protests are happening , always and everywhere, on the roads, during the daylight, under the nose of the rulers, by crushing the rights of citizens of India.

Dear Joju & Arun, I have sympathies for you but remember, we have no drought of laws and there is no scarcity of the implementing agencies. What we are lacking is the political will and ethical mind to implement those laws and directions. Both of you can’t do anything other than putting your vote into the ballot box!. So, relax and enjoy this freedom without questioning anything.

Bijoy P Pulipra LL.B, FCS, IP,RV

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