Kerala HC again flays practice of Nokkukooli

‘Take action against those demanding it, irrespective of their party or union’

The Kerala High Court on Thursday lashed out again at the practice of demanding Nokkukooli by head load workers in the State.

Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed that he was disappointed that the practice still persisted despite a ban on such practice and repeated directives by the High Court.

The court said that it did not want to hear the word Nokkukooli any more. The use of the word should be discontinued. The court added that investors were scared to invest in the State because of the militant trade unionism. Such a situation should be changed. If an employer did not engage a head load worker, he/she was supposed to approach the competent authorities under the Kerala Head Load Workers Act, instead of resorting to violence.

VSSC cargo issue

The court reiterated its earlier observation that the obstruction caused by the head load workers to the unloading of materials at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, had affected the collective reputation of the State.

The court observed that Nokkukooli still prevailed in the State and strong action should be taken against those who demanded Nokkukooli, irrespective of the colour of the party or union to which they belonged. That apart, the redressal mechanisms under the Act should be strengthened further to resolve such disputes.

The court made these observations when a petition by a hotel owner in Kollam seeking police protection for unloading materials brought for constructing a building on his property came up for hearing.

11 cases

Counsel for the Government submitted that the station house officers were taking legal action against the unlawful practice of Nokkukooli. Eleven criminal cases had been registered so far in connection with the unlawful demand for Nokkukooli under the provisions of the Kerala Loading and Unloading (Regulations of Wages and Restriction of Unlawful Practices) Act 2002 and also under the Indian Penal Code. Besides, instructions had been issued to the District Police Chiefs to take stringent action against the unlawful practice whenever it was reported. The police were not lax in taking action against such incidents.

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