SC to hear BJP’s plea on its Bengal Rath Yatra on January 8

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on January 8 the BJP’s plea challenging a Calcutta High Court division bench order that quashed a single bench’s conditional go-ahead to the party’s ‘Rath Yatra’ programme in West Bengal.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said on Thursday that the plea would be listed on January 8 after senior counsel Ranjit Kumar told the court that because of the High Court order, the BJP can’t go ahead with its programme.

The BJP’s plans to take out ‘save democracy rallies’ hit a roadblock when the High Court’s division bench on December 21 quashed the single bench’s order that had given the go-ahead to the programme saying the party should not create any trouble during their programme as they would be held liable.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar sent the case back to the single bench with a directive that the latter consider the intelligence inputs provided by the state agencies.

The Mamata Banerjee government had moved an appeal before the division bench against the single bench’s December 20 order.

While setting aside Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty’s order, the division bench directed it to study afresh the 36 intelligence inputs from 31 police stations and five police commissionerates submitted by the state government before it.

The Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government had refused permission to BJP’s programme to hold the ‘Rath Yatra’, arguing there was “grave apprehension of major breach of peace and communal violence during and in the aftermath” of the programme.

The BJP then moved the Calcutta High Court on December 17 after the Bengal government’s decision and proposed December 22, 24 and 26 as fresh dates for the three rallies.

The BJP was originally scheduled to hold three ‘Rath Yatra’ rallies from north Bengal’s Cooch Behar, South 24 Parganas district’s Gangasagar and Birbhum district’s temple town of Tarapith, to be flagged off by party President Amit Shah on December 7, 9 and 14 respectively.

These rallies were meant to touch all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state before converging in Kolkata in January.