HC allows BJP youth wing rally in state, rejects govt objection


Metros, Kolkata

The outfit had applied for permission on January five, which was rejected by the state police administration yesterday.

Calcutta High Court

Kolkata: The Calcutta high court on Wednesday allowed permission for a motorbike rally by BJP’s youth wing in West Bengal, rejecting the state government’s objections to the event.

Justice Debangshu Basak observed that the right of a political party to hold rallies cannot be denied after the state authorities refused permission for the rally by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in view of the Gangasagar Mela.

The BJYM motorbike rally named ‘Pratirodh Sankalpa Abhiyan’ to mark Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, is scheduled to be held from January 12 to January 18 and would travel from Contai in East Midnapore district to Coochbehar in the north.

The outfit had applied for permission on January five, which was rejected by the state police administration yesterday.

Noting that permissions have been granted to rallies by the state government as well as the ruling Trinamool Congress to be held on January 12 on the occasion of Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, the court observed that the state should not discriminate in granting permission. Advocate-general Kishore Dutta had contended that a large number of police personnel have to be mobilised from all over the state for the maintenance of law and order and smooth organisation of the Gangasagar Mela. He submitted that apart from the two rallies granted permission every year, it would not be possible to spare police personnel for any additional rally. The annual Ganga Sagar Mela is held from January 12 to January 15 at Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district on the confluence of River Ganga and Bay of Bengal and lakhs of pilgrims congregate from different parts of the country for the holy dip. Dutta suggested that the BJYM hold the rally after January 26, but it was rejected by the petitioner.

Observing that administrative inconvenience cannot stand in the way of application of law, Justice Basak noted that routes of the rally and the mela-bound pilgrims might overlap at a few places but not to the extent of blocking movement.

The court directed that the rally would move in an orderly fashion and the organisers would inform the administration at least half an hour before reaching any place to ensure proper traffic management and abide by all just directions of the authorities.