'Nokkukooli' damaging the image of the state, says Kerala HC

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Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the state government to eradicate the practice of 'nokkukooli' which, it said, was damaging the image of Kerala.

Nokkukooli, which literally means 'gawking wages,' is a euphemism for extortion by organized labour unions in the state under which wages have to be paid to trade union workers for loading and unloading works done by other workers or by machines.

Justice Devan Ramachandran, while hearing a plea filed by a businessman from Kollam over the issue, said the rights of the headload workers should be protected in a legal manner.

The court also observed that the petitions seeking protection against nokkukooli was on the rise in the state.

"The practice of nokkukooli is damaging the image of Kerala. It should be eradicated. It gives out wrong perceptions about the state. Meanwhile, the rights of the headload workers should also be protected," the court said.

The Kerala government had on May 1, 2018 banned the obsolete NokkuKooli practice used by headload workers to extract exorbitant wages without doing any work.

The practice of Nokkukooli is widely considered a product of militant trade unionism that resulted in frequent altercations between workers and businessmen.

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