Published On: Thu, Dec 20th, 2018

Calcutta High Court allows BJP’s ‘Rath Yatra’ in West Bengal

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted permission to BJP’s ‘Rath Yatra’ in West Bengal.

The organisers have to inform the police superintendent of the district concerned 12 hours prior to taking out the yatra

Allowing the BJP to hold three ‘yatras’ in West Bengal, the court directed that the administration should ensure that there is no breach of law and order.

On a petition filed by the BJP, Justice Tapobrata Chakraborty said the organisers have to inform the police superintendent of the district concerned 12 hours prior to taking out the yatra.

The high court said authorities had passed an order for total exclusion without providing for reasonable restrictions. The threat to public peace should be real and not imaginary or a mere likely possibility, the court observed.

“When the yatras are not for any unlawful purpose, it cannot be completely stopped unless there is any breach of law. The restrictions should be just and reasonable. The threat to public peace and tranquillity should be real instead of imaginary,” added the bench.

Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had denied permission for the rath yatra on December 15 on the grounds that it might lead to communal tension.

The state government reiterated the same facts on Wednesday and cited intelligence reports expressing apprehensions of breach of communal harmony in the state.

It had further claimed that the programme scale was massive and require a huge deployment of security personnel covering all districts where the yatras would be held spanning 34 days.

Countering the state government’s stand, BJP counsel SK Kapoor alleged that the denial of permission was pre-determined and without any basis, adding that “in the worst days of the British period Mahatma Gandhi held the Dandi March and nobody stopped him” but “now the government here says it won’t allow a political procession.”

Welcoming the high court verdict, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley congratulated the BJP. “If any NDA/BJP government had stopped an Opposition programme, it would have been called an ‘undeclared emergency’. Why silence now?”

He also questioned the silence of “human rights activists and opposition parties” on the denial of permission to hold the rath yatras by the West Bengal government.

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