In the plea filed in the apex court, the BJP's West Bengal unit contended that authorities cannot abridge their right and they have a duty to facilitate them in exercising their democratic right.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to give permission to the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Rath Yatra and said that the BJP can come out with a revised plan of another Yatra, which the state government may consider afresh later.
The SC bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked BJP’s West Bengal unit to submit a revised schedule of its proposed ‘Rath Yatra’ with the authorities and seek necessary approvals. The apex court held that the BJP’s West Bengal unit can conduct rallies and meetings with prior approval of the state government.
The bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and S K Kaul, was hearing a BJP petition challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order which had set aside a ruling of a single-judge bench allowing the procession. The bench asked the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government to consider the revised schedule of BJP for ‘Rath Yatra’ keeping in mind the fundamental right of speech and expression under the Constitution.
The West Bengal unit of BJP had approached the top Court seeking permission to take out the rally, which would cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The SC said the apprehension of the West Bengal government of possible law and order situation cannot be called ‘unfounded’ and the BJP will have to take all possible steps to address the apprehension in a reasonable manner.
According to the original plan, the rallies were supposed to be flagged off by BJP president Amit Shah from Cooch Behar district on December 7, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum on December 14.