New Delhi, Jul 3: The Supreme Court on Thursday, July 3 directed the Gorkhaland agitators to ensure free traffic movement on National Highway 31A linking Sikkim to the rest of the country.
An angry bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and S S Singhvi came down heavily on the Centre and West Bengal. ''Road blocks causing hardships to people are being organised in various parts of the country on routine basis and authorities are turning a Nelson's eye towards it. This is an election year and the whole country is being ruined by such demonstrations,'' the court observed.
The vacation bench also reminded them of their constitutional obligations, saying ''you (governments) are not prepared to act in accordance with the Constitution and require orders from courts to ensure undisrupted and normal life, and then you complain that the court is stepping on your toes. Fifteen students hold 5,000 students of a university to ransom and authorities are just not bothered.'' The Supreme Court directed the organisations spearheding the agitation namely Sikkim Darjeeling Joint Action Forum, Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, Amra Bengali, Jan Jagaran Manch and Jan Chetna to ensure that there is no disruption of any type on the entire stretch of NH 31A, which is the only link between Sikkim and the rest of the country.
The central government had earlier assured the appex court that it was prepared to provide any assistance to both of West Bengal and Sikkim to ensure free flow of vehicular traffic on NH 31A.
Gorkhaland agitators had suspended their agitations till July 5 and were planning to resume road blockade the day after.
The apex court also referred to MNS agitation in Maharashtra against North Indians and observed when everything is clear, the authorities take an ''escapist stand'' saying they are probing the matter and strong action shall be taken against those found guilty. Sadly, nothing happens.
''Nobody on the basis of muscle power can be allowed to rule the roost,'' the court added.
The apex court also issued notices to the Centre, state of West Bengal and the organisations spearheading the Gorkhaland agitation, besides granting them four weeks time to respond.
The apex court also directed the Centre and state of West Bengal to ensure that there was no blockage on NH 31A.
The directions were issued on the petitions filed by state of Sikkim and one O P Bhandari. Senior counsel P H Parekh appeared for the petitioner.