Rath Yatra Row : Calcutta HC slams state government; Calls its silence “astonishing and astounding”

Kolkata
HC raps West Bengal government, directs top officials to decide on BJP rath yatra by December 14

The Calcutta High Court on Friday has pulled the West Bengal government up on not responding to letters of the BJP seeking permission for holding Rath Yatras in the state.

A bench of judges comprising Biswanath Somadder and A Mukherjee slammed the government by calling its silence “astonishing and astounding.”

The court decreed the chief secretary and home secretary and the director general of police to hold a meeting with 3 representatives of  BJP by December 12 and decide on the matter by December 14.

Realizing that a single bench cannot pass an injunction upon the petitioner, the court modified its temporary order of Thursday.

A single bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday denied the permission for the BJP rath yatra in Coochbehar in the wake of Bengal government informing the court that it might cause “communal tension”.

Sharply criticizing the single bench’s statement, the division bench said, “There was no plausible reason for the observation by the single bench. Needless to say, the rally stands deferred till next date of hearing”on January 9. This observation in the nature of a mandatory injunction upon the petitioner in their own petition was perhaps quite unnecessary”

In the light of BJP’s plea for direction to the state government to grant permission, the bench observed that the state cannot be so “unreasonable” that it does not allow another party to hold a rally.

Counsel Anindya Mitra, who appeared for BJP, submitted, “BJP had written to the state authorities first on October 29 and several more times thereafter for discussion on modalities of holding the rallies, but did not receive any response from either the home secretary or the DGP.”

He further claimed, “Such denial amounts to the violation of party’s constitutional rights.”

Advocate General Kishore Dutta, who appeared for the state submitted, “Coochbehar has a history of communal clashes and that there are intelligence inputs of possible disturbance to peace if the yatra was allowed to be held. As such, permission for the rath yatra from Coochbehar was refused by the district superintendent of police.”

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