In a setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Calcutta High Court Friday put a stay on saffron party’s Rath Yatra programme scheduled to take place on Saturday from West Bengal’s Cooch Bihar district. This comes a day after a single judge bench of the same court had allowed the BJP’s grand programme.
The state government had moved an appeal before a division bench of the Calcutta High Court challenging the single bench order that allowed BJP’s ‘Rath Yatra’ programme in the state. The government had expressed urgency and sought an immediate hearing before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar.
Accepting the Mamata Banerjee government’s demand for an urgent hearing, the court asked it to serve copies of its appeal to respondent, the BJP, following which the hearing would commence. Earlier, a single bench presided by Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty Thursday granted permission for the programme. In its order Thursday, the court had set aside the denial of permission for the yatra by a panel of three senior most officers of the state government.
In another ruling on December 6, the court had refused permission to the BJP to hold the ‘Rath Yatra’, which was scheduled to be flagged off by BJP chief Amit Shah from Cooch Behar in North Bengal on December 7. The party had then approached the division bench which had asked the state chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP and take a decision on the ‘yatra’ by December 14.
After parleys with the BJP team, the panel had denied permission for the rallies on December 15 on the grounds that it might lead to communal tension. The state BJP had moved the court again challenging the government’s denial of permission to its programme.