The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday asked the GJM why it should not be made to pay compensation for infringing the fundamental rights of the people by calling a shutdown in West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills.
Hearing a public interest litigation seeking prevention of shutdowns, a division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi asked the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to file an affidavit to explain its position.
The order comes in the wake of the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, which was called soon after the decision favouring a separate state of Telangana was announced.
The court said the “public curfew” clamped by the Morcha was a “kind of illegal bandh (shutdown), and no one can give such a call”.
Following a 72-hour ultimatum by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to withdraw the shutdown, the GJM in retaliation clamped a two-day public curfew from Tuesday.
The state government, which submitted a status report on the shutdown, was directed by the court to make an estimate of destruction and damage to public properties on account of the call by the Morcha.
The court has also asked the GJM to reply in its affidavit to why it should not be made to compensate for the damage caused to public properties during the shutdown.
The matter will come up for hearing on September 5, by when the GJM will have to submit its affidavit.