New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday disallowed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from holding the three rath yatras it had planned in West Bengal until the party allays the government’s apprehensions on law and order issues.
This comes as a blow to the BJP, which is trying to get a foothold in the state and has criticized the state government decision not to allow the yatras.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the state’s apprehensions could not be said to be totally unfounded as it had the right to maintain law and order.
The court asked the party to submit a revised proposal on holding the rath yatra, which will be considered by the state government keeping in mind the constitutional right to hold a peaceful procession. The final decision on holding the rath yatras would be taken after the state government considers the revised proposal keeping in mind the constitutional right to hold a peaceful procession.
The apex court, however, allowed the BJP state unit to conduct meetings and rallies for now.
“We will continue with our programme and hold public meetings, across the state. The Supreme Court has directed against rath yatra, so we will not hold rath yatra. But other public contact programmes will continue all over the state," said Dilip Ghosh, state president of BJP unit in West Bengal.
The BJP’s West Bengal unit has sought permission for its Save Democracy Rally covering 42 parliamentary constituencies in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The party, which sought an urgent hearing, had planned to hold the rath yatras in the state last month but was refused permission by the state government. The party says it cannot be denied its fundamental right to hold a peaceful yatra.
On 21 December last year, a division bench of the Calcutta high court had set aside the order of a single judge allowing the yatras in the state. The party unit had approached the Supreme Court against this order.