West Bengal: Supreme Court declines permission for BJP’s Rath Yatra

New Delhi: Saying that the West Bengal government’s apprehensions regarding the conduct of the ‘Rath Yatra’ by the state’s BJP unit are not completely baseless and unfounded, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the West Bengal government to allow proposed public meetings and rallies of the BJP under its “Ganatantra Bachao Yatra”.

A bench comprising Justices L.N. Rao and S.K. Kaul and headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the BJP’s West Bengal unit to submit a revised schedule of its proposed ‘Rath Yatra’ with the authorities and seek necessary approvals. It also asked the West Bengal government to consider the revised schedule of the BJP for ‘Rath Yatra’ keeping in mind the fundamental right of speech and expression under the Constitution.

The Apex court had earlier sought a response from the state government on BJP’s plea seeking permission to take out ‘Rath Yatra’ in the state.

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The order of a division bench of the Calcutta High Court, which had set aside the order of a single-judge bench allowing the procession was challenged by BJP’s Bengal unit on December 21.

As reported by the Wire, the BJP has now decided to cut short its 40-day programme to 20 and the fresh ‘Yatras’ would start from Baharampur in Murshidabad district, Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district, Medinipur and the Lok Sabha constituency of Kolkata North.

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