KERALA: Today, Kerala High Court seeks the response of the Central government about deploying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at the Adani Vizhinjam Ports construction site while the State Police continues to maintain law and order outside the site where protests are ongoing.
Single-judge Justice Anu Sivaraman ordered the State government and Central Government to have a discussion on the possibility of the same and inform the court of its consensus on November 7, 2022.
Adani Port was selected as the concessionaire for the Vizhinjam Seaport Project and began construction of the port on December 5, 2015.
In August, Adani Ports and its contracting partner Howe Engineering Projects, approached the High Court seeking police protection in light of the ongoing protests against the construction.
The project has been opposed by the fisherfolk community which, allegedly under the leadership of the Catholic Archdiocese of Trivandrum, are demanding, among other things, proper environmental impact studies, rehabilitation of families who lost their homes to coastal erosion and rectifying coastal damages.
The Court had passed several orders directing the police to ensure that necessary police protection is granted to Adani Port employees to carry out the activities permitted in accordance with the contracts entered into by them.
The Court had made it clear that while the protest can continue peacefully and lawfully, it cannot extend to obstructing ingress and egress of the petitioners, its subcontractors, employees or officials to and from the project site, or obstruct the activities of the project without any authority of law.
The Court had also said several times that if the State government and police are unable to see that law and order is maintained in the locality, necessary steps shall be taken to seek appropriate assistance from the Central government.
Since the protests showed no signs of abating, the petitioners moved contempt of court pleas.
The Court passed today’s order in light of an incident that occurred on November 27, when protestors unleashed attacks on the trucks carrying constructions materials, its drivers and other property owned by Adani Ports.
When the police took 5 persons into custody, the mob allegedly stormed the police station. Several policemen were allegedly injured in the incident and had to be hospitalized.
Adani Ports and Howe Engineering were represented by Senior Advocates S Sreekumar and G Sreekumar respectively, as well as by advocates Roshen D Alexander, Tina Alex Thomas, Harimohan, and Kochurani James.
Vizhinjam Seaport was represented by Senior Advocate VJ Mathew and advocates Vipin P Varghese, Adarsh Mathew, Kevin Mathew George, Merlin Mathew and Meera Elsa Jose.