SC asks WB govt reply on BJP Rath Yatra

SC asks WB govt reply on BJP Rath Yatra

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the West Bengal government on a plea by BJP seeking permission to take out Rath Yatra in the state. PTI file photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the West Bengal government against denial of permission to carry out 'contact programme' (yatras) in the state due to “political vendetta and executive acting as an arm of Trinamool Congress party”.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjay Kishan Kaul sought a response from the state government on a special leave petition filed by the state BJP against a Calcutta High Court's division bench order of December 21, restraining it from taking out 'yatras' to cover each constituency of the state.

The court directed the West Bengal BJP to furnish a fresh schedule of its 'yatras' and put the matter for consideration on January 15.

The BJP contended that it was not being allowed to launch a contact programme in violation of its fundamental right to protest.

The party, in its petition, said its fundamental right to hold a peaceful 'yatra' cannot be withheld merely on the ground of “surmises and conjectures” as made out by the state government authorities.

“It is totally against the constitutional values of the nation as the right to protest has been recognised as a fundamental right under the Constitution and the assumptions cannot lead to arbitrary actions on the pretext of reasonable restrictions,” it said.

The party sought an immediate stay of the division bench order and sustaining of a single bench order permitting its 'yatras' as any further delay would lead its entire arrangement to go waste.

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.

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