The West Bengal government Friday moved the Calcutta High Court challenging a single bench order that allowed BJP's 'Rath Yatra' programme in the state. It has appealed before a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar, the state government expressed urgency and sought an immediate hearing. Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi will join the argument on behalf of DGP and ADG Law and Order in the case. The court granted leave to the state government to move the appeal and asked it to serve copies of its appeal to the respondent, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), following which the hearing would commence. A single bench presided by Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday had allowed the BJP's 'Rath Yatra' programme, setting aside the denial of permission for the yatra by a panel of three senior most officers of the state government.
Appearing for the state government, Advocate General Kishore Dutta had Wednesday submitted an intelligence report in a sealed cover and said the issues stated in the BJP's brochure publicising the "rath yatra" were communally sensitive in nature. In the defence, BJP counsel SK Kapoor cited Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March during the British rule to make a case for the yatra.
"In the worst days of the British period, Mahatma Gandhi held the Dandi march. But now the West Bengal government says it won't allow a political procession," Kapoor argued. He further added that the West Bengal government was denying a political party from organising procession – a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the country.
On December 6, a single-judge bench of the High Court has refused set aside the state government order to allow the BJP to carry out the procession. However, the saffron party then moved the division bench, which asked the West Bengal chief secretary, the home secretary, and the state police chief to take a decision after meeting BJP representatives.
After the discussions, the state government again denied the permission, a move that irked the BJP chief Amit Shah, who openly challenged that "nobody can stop rath yatras in the state". He said that the permission was not granted because CM Banerjee was "terrified" that the BJP would expand its base in the state.