Supreme Court Seeks Bengal Government’s Response

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the West Bengal government on a petition by the BJP, looking for permission to take out Rath Yatra in the state.

The West Bengal unit of the BJP has challenged the December 21 order of the division bench of the Calcutta High Court, which had kept aside the order of a single-judge bench allowing the procession.

A bench led by Justice SK Kaul also asked the BJP state unit to submit an improvised plan for its “Save Democracy Rally” for consideration by the state government. The bench posted the issue for hearing on January 15.

The BJP’s West Bengal unit has approached the Supreme Court seeking permission to conduct the procession, which would cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in the state ahead of general elections to be held this year. In its plea, the BJP has said that their fundamental right to hold a peaceful yatra cannot be withheld.

The party had planned to set up the yatra from three districts of the state.

The high court’s division bench had sent the case back to a single-judge bench to hear it afresh and also to relevance the intelligence inputs by state agencies.

The order of the division bench had come after hearing an appeal moved by the West Bengal government challenging the order of the single-judge bench.

The rallies, as per the original schedule, we’re supposed to be flagged off by BJP president Amit Shah from West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district on December 7, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum on December 14.

In the plea filed in the top court, the BJP’s West Bengal unit has contended that authorities cannot abridge their right and they have a duty to help them in exercising their democratic right.

The BJP has stated in the plea that the state government was repeatedly “attacking” the fundamental right of citizens due to which different petitions have been filed challenging the activities of the state government in denying permission to different organizations.

It has claimed that earlier too, permission was denied several times at the last moment to “harass the BJP” which later moved the high court and that the party “is facing such political vendetta since 2014 in West Bengal”.

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