Constitution To The Rescue: Calcutta HC Overturns TMC Government’s Refusal To Allow BJP Rath Yatras In West Bengal

Constitution To The Rescue: Calcutta HC Overturns TMC Government’s Refusal To Allow BJP Rath Yatras In West BengalAmit Shah during a visit to Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral house in Kolkata. (Photo by Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In a major shot in the arm for the BJP in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court today (Thursday, 20 December) passed an order allowing the party to hold its three planned ‘rath yatras’ in the state, reports The Indian Express. The rath yatras had been scheduled to be flagged off by the BJP National President, Amit Shah.

The court has also directed the state administration to ensure the maintenance of law and order during the rallies. The matter was decided by a single judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty, who granted permission on the conditions that the rath yatras be peaceful and not cause public inconvenience.

As per the order, police are to remain on standby 12 hours prior to the beginning of the rallies.

The matter had reached the high court after the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) government refused to grant permission for the rallies for a second time, citing law and order issues in a letter to the BJP.

“The areas proposed to be covered by the yatra are, because of publicity and propaganda, gradually turning into communally sensitive pockets. Intelligence reports indicate that public perception is that the religious overtones of the yatra will be turned into communal propaganda. Furthermore, during the period cited, major festivals and events are scheduled, and it requires a heavy deployment of the resources of the government, including the police force. We are therefore of the opinion that, for the reasons which have been elaborately mentioned, it is not possible to allow the yatra as proposed by the BJP,” the West Bengal government letter read.

The BJP had asked the state government for permission to conduct three rath yatras from Cooch Behar, Sagar Island and Tarapith on 22, 24 and 26 December respectively.

After the state government’s refusal, State BJP vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar had stated, “The state government is trying its best to stop our Rath Yatras. However, we will hold such rallies after getting permission from court. We have full faith in judiciary and we will get justice.”