Supreme Court | Manisha Mondal/ThePrint
Supreme Court of India | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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SC bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the Mamata Banerjee govt’s apprehensions over the proposed rath yatra were not unfounded.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to permit all public meetings and rallies proposed by the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), if adequate information and schedules of such events are furnished in time.

However, this does not mean that the party’s proposed rath yatra, which had been shot down by the state government, has been given a go-ahead.

Noting the scale of the proposed yatra, the apex court said the state government’s apprehensions over the effect on the law and order situation in West Bengal were not “totally unfounded”.

The SC ruled that the BJP could submit a “modified proposal, which meets and answers the apprehensions of the state government, so far as maintenance of law and order is concerned”.

“Once such a proposal is submitted, the state government will consider the matter and pass appropriate orders keeping in mind that the present involves a case of exercise of the fundamental rights, inter alia, under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. It is in that spirit that we expect the state government to deal with the matter on receipt of such revised proposal as may be submitted,” the bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi noted in its order.

“Any revised proposal submitted by the petitioner will be responded to by the state government with utmost expedition, keeping in mind that with the commencement of the board examination of CBSE and other boards, the use of loudspeakers etc. may be banned.”

The court further said that Banerjee’s government did not have any objections to the BJP holding public meetings and rallies — that it had “merely requested the petitioner to furnish details and schedules of such meetings and rallies”.

Also read: BJP wants rath yatra in West Bengal to incite communal passions, alleges TMC

Case history

On 24 December 2018, the West Bengal unit of the BJP filed a plea for an urgent hearing in the apex court against a 6 December Calcutta High Court division bench order which had denied the BJP permission for a rally in Cooch Behar, which was to be flagged off by party chief Amit Shah.

The state unit had sought to restore a single bench order allowing the yatra.

Also read: Supreme Court gives 6 weeks to Modi govt to reply on PIL against snooping notification

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