HC directs state's top officials to meet 3 party representatives
Kolkata: The Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday denied permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for holding Rath yatra at the current juncture and directed the state Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police to hold meetings with three BJP leaders by December 12 and decide on the dates of the proposed rallies.
The Division Bench said on Friday that it is essential that all problems are sorted out and a decision on the dates of the programme should be finalised by December 14 and accordingly the court may be informed.
It may be mentioned that the single Bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday had said that permission could not be granted at this stage for the BJP's Rath yatra in Cooch Behar, which was scheduled to be flagged off by Amit Shah on Friday, as the state government pointed out that such an event could trigger 'communal tension'. The single Bench had rejected the BJP's petition to allow them to hold Rath yatras and put on hold such activities till January 9.
The BJP challenged the order and moved the division Bench on Friday. Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice Arindam Mukherjee, however, modified the order of the single Bench by lifting the injunction on the Ratha yatra till January 9.
The lawyer for the state said as per orders of the court the BJP will not be able to hold any such yatras till December 14. "The state government would decide whether or not to move Supreme Court challenging Friday's High Court division Bench order," said advocate Arka Kumar Nag who appeared on behalf of the state government.
The division Bench on Friday disposed of an appeal by the BJP against a single Bench order of Thursday that refused permission for its Rath yatra by directing the state to hold the meeting by Wednesday.
BJP national president Amit Shah is expected to be in the city on Saturday.
"A democratic process has been suppressed in Bengal, with the misuse of power... This is undemocratic," the BJP chief mentioned.
"I will personally lead the Rath yatra when it happens. Our party workers in the state will not bow down to such tactics," the party chief added.
It may be mentioned that the BJP had planned three Rath yatras across Bengal starting from Cooch Behar on December 7. The second rally was scheduled at Sagar Islands on December 9 and the third at Tarapith in Birbhum on December 14. With the division Bench order, the saffron party will now have to revise their schedule after getting a response from the state government officials as directed by the court.