SC asks BJP to address West Bengal govt's apprehension

“We can't say the apprehension is totally unfounded,” a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said after the West Bengal government led by senior advocate A M Singhvi contended that the state government based on intelligence reports of 31 police districts with 33% minority population had found that it could have an adverse impact on the law and order.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the West Bengal BJP to address apprehension of the state government and give a modified proposal to take out 'yatras' (march) over there.

The court said the state government would consider the revised schedule keeping in view of the fundamental right to speech and expression.

“We can't say the apprehension is totally unfounded,” a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said after the West Bengal government led by senior advocate A M Singhvi contended that the state government based on intelligence reports of 31 police districts with 33% minority population had found that it could have an adverse impact on the law and order.

The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, however, noted that the BJP can organise its public meetings, which, the state government maintained that were not the issue provided the party provided the names, venues and details of the people who would address the rally over there.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the petitioner WB BJP, submitted that the state chief secretary had restrained a "responsible political party" to exercise its legitimate right in a democracy to launch a contact programme with the people. “You can't say that the programme would be joined by the people from RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal so it would be communal. These are not the banned organisations,” he said.

Singhvi, however, said the state had to carry out police 'bandobast', which cannot be undertaken without the detailed schedule.

The bench, which initially questioned, the WB BJP for asking the court to do "the police work", disposed of the matter.

The state BJP challenged a Calcutta High Court's division bench order of December 21, restraining it from taking out 'yatras' to cover each constituency there.

The 'ganatantra bachao yatra' to cover 42 constituency of West Bengal, which was originally scheduled from December 7 has been re-scheduled but it cannot be started due to “illegal denial” of permission by the state authorities, the petitioner claimed

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SC asks BJP to address West Bengal govt's apprehension

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