Pulling up the state government for not responding to BJP’s applications seeking permission for its ‘rath yatras’, the Calcutta High Court Friday directed top officials to hold a meeting with BJP leaders by December 12, and take a decision on the matter by December 14.
Modifying a single bench order passed Wednesday, which had put the ‘rath yatras’ on hold till January 9, the division bench of Justices Biswanath Somadder and A Mukherjee lifted the injunction and disposed of the BJP’s petition.
The party’s first ‘rath yatra’ — earlier scheduled to be held in Cooch Behar Thursday — had been postponed in light of the injunction. Two more are scheduled from South 24 Parganason December 9, and Birbhum district on December 14.
According to a PTI report, the bench said the government’s silence on the issue was “astonishing and astounding”.
“After hearing our petition, the division bench directed the state chief secretary, home secretary and director general of police to sit with three of our leaders by Wednesday and convey their decision on our rath yatra by Friday. The court has also removed the injunctive part of the single bench order which barred us from taking out rallies till January 9. It is a moral victory for us and a victory of the country’s democracy,” said state BJP vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar.
Appearing for BJP, advocate Brajesh Jha said, “The division bench cast aspersions on the state government for not replying to BJP’s letters to it seeking permission for the rally since October 29.”
During the hearing, the court asked advocate general Kishore Dutta how the administration could sit tight on letters written to it several days ago.
Appearing for the state, advocate Arka Kumar Nag said, “Going by today’s order, we can say that there will be no rallies till December 14, when the state government will make its stand clear.” Asked whether the state government will move Supreme Court against this order, Nag said, “A decision will be taken in this regard at an appropriate time.”
On December 3, the state BJP had moved the Calcutta HC to ensure cooperation during the ‘rath yatras’ after receiving no response from the the state administration. When a single bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty rejected its petition Wednesday, it moved the division bench.
The division bench’s order would mean that the party will now have to revise the schedule for its ‘rath yatras’ after it gets a response from the state government.