The Kerala High Court has formed a claims tribunal to assess the damages caused by Sabarimala Karma Samithi during the hartal held on January 3, 2019. The statewide hartal held by the group protesting against entry of two women into the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple, had caused certain damages.
The High Court reportedly appointed retired district judge PD Shardharan as the claims tribunal on the multiple petitions in court asking to retrieve compensation for the loss incurred to the public during the hartal from its organisers.
According to reports, it is the first time the High Court is appointing a claims tribunal to assess damages caused in a hartal.
The court has also asked the state government to provide necessary aid to the claims tribunal for its work. It also directed the government to appoint an expert committee, including engineers, to assess the damages caused to vehicles. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation had earlier informed the court that about 50 of its buses were damaged during the hartal.
Two women, Bindu Ammini, a Kerala lawyer and Kanakadurga, a government employee, had entered the Sabarimala temple on January 2, 2019 following the 2018 Supreme Court verdict that women of all ages could enter the temple. In the hartal held by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi across districts, damage to public and private was reported.
In a report submitted by the state government earlier, a loss of about Rs 1 crore has been incurred due to damages caused to private properties and Rs 38 lakh in damages to public properties.
The hartal turned violent in many parts of the state and police had to resort to water cannons and lathi charge to disperse the protestors. About 990 cases have been registered in various police stations in the state as part of the hartal.
According to reports, Sabarimala Karma Samithi leaders include Amrithananda Mayi, former DGP TP Senkumar, retired Justice of Karnataka High Court N Kumar and former Kerala public service commission chairman Dr K S Radhakrishnan.