Calcutta High Court Allows BJP to Hold Rally After West Bengal Police Denied Permission

Kolkata, Jan 10: In a setback for Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday allowed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to hold a bike rally. “The permission can’t be denied,” said the Calcutta High Court asking West Bengal government to make adequate arrangements of force and BJP to stick to the route cleared by the police.
BJP’s youth wing (Yuva Morcha) proposed a week-long bike rally ‘Protirodh Sankalp Abhiyan’, to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The bike rally is scheduled to start from East Midnapore district’s coastal town Digha on Thursday. On January 5, however, the police denied permission to the BJP as it would collide with the Gangasagar Mela.
As police denied permission, the BJP’s West Bengal unit moved the Calcutta High Court against the denial of permission for their proposed bike rallies. “Police initially gave us the permission for the rally but refused it on Tuesday afternoon. This is another sign of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the state government’s vindictive politics against the BJP,” a source close to the BJP told IANS.
Noting that permissions have been granted to rallies by West Bengal government as well as the ruling TMC to be held on January 12 on the occasion of Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, the Calcutta High Court observed that the state should not discriminate in granting permission.
Appearing for the state government, Advocate General Kishore Dutta had contended that a large number of police personnel have to be mobilised from all over the state for the maintenance of law and order and smooth organisation of the Gangasagar Mela. He submitted that apart from the two rallies granted permission every year, it would not be possible to spare police personnel for any additional rally.
The annual Ganga Sagar Mela is held from January 12 to January 15 at Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district on the confluence of River Ganga and Bay of Bengal and lakhs of pilgrims congregate from different parts of the country for the holy dip. Dutta suggested that the BJYM hold the rally after January 26, but it was rejected by the petitioner.
Observing that administrative inconvenience cannot stand in the way of application of law, Justice Basak noted that routes of the rally and the mela-bound pilgrims might overlap at a few places but not to the extent of blocking movement.
The court directed that the rally would move in an orderly fashion and the organisers would inform the administration at least half an hour before reaching any place to ensure proper traffic management and abide by all just directions of the authorities.