The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on 8 January the BJP’s plea challenging a Calcutta High Court order prohibiting the party’s ‘Rath Yatra’ programme in West Bengal. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said on Thursday the Bengal Rath Yatra plea would be listed on 8 January, after senior counsel Ranjit Kumar told the court that the BJP could not go ahead with its programme because of the High Court order.
The High Court’s division bench had on 21 December quashed the single bench’s order that had given the go-ahead to the BJP programme saying the party should not create any trouble during their programme as they would be held liable.
The BJP’s plans to take out ‘save democracy rallies’ hit a roadblock when the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar, sent the case back to the single bench with a directive that the latter consider the intelligence inputs provided by the state agencies.
The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress government had refused permission to BJP’s programme to hold the ‘Rath Yatra’, arguing that there was “grave apprehension of major breach of peace and communal violence during and in the aftermath” of the programme.
The BJP then moved the Calcutta High Court on 17 December after the Bengal government’s decision and proposed 22, 24 and 26 December as fresh dates for the three rallies.
The BJP was originally scheduled to hold three ‘Rath Yatra’ rallies from north Bengal’s Cooch Behar, South 24 Parganas districts Gangasagar and Birbhum district’s temple town of Tarapith, to be flagged off by party President Amit Shah on 7, 9 and 14 December, respectively.
These rallies were meant to touch all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state before converging in Kolkata in January.