Observing that demands for Nokkukooli should be treated as an extortion, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the State Police Chief (SPC) to issue a circular to all police stations and the competent authority under the Kerala Headload Workers Act asking them to register a case for extortion as well as for offences under the the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the workers and trade unions leaders who demanded Nokkukooli.
Justice Devan Ramachandran, while dealing with a case seeking police protection against the headload workers’ demand for Nokkukooli, observed that in view of the deleterious tendency to demand Nokkukooli that had held sway for the last several decades, the court was certain that such a circular would have to be issued by the SPC.
The court observed that monopoly for a set of people was created because it was thought at one point that the headload workers were vulnerable. The irony was that what was intended for the benefits of the workers had become a tool for extortion. It had destroyed the image of the State all over the country.
The fact remained that people associated Kerala with the militant trade unionism. It should be stopped. The trade union leaders and the workers should be told that the demand for Nokkukoolli was tantamount to extortion.
When the case came up for hearing, the Government Pleader submitted that the Government was intending to amend the Kerala Headload Workers’ Act and grant power to the competent authority under the Act to expel the workers who were established to have demanded Nokkukooli and impose penalties on such persons.
The court directed the SPC to issue the circular by December 8 and file a report in this regard. The court directed the State Government to inform the court about the progress in the decision to amend the Act.
The court posted the case for further hearing on December 8.