The Calcutta High Court came down heavily on the West Bengal government for not responding to letters of the BJP seeking permission for its rath yatras in the state and directed top officials to take a decision on the processions by December 14. BJP president Amit Shah was livid over the denial of the yatra permission.
A division bench of justices Biswanath Somadder and A Mukherjee said the government’s silence on the permission is “astonishing and astounding”.
The court disposed of an appeal by the BJP against a single bench order of Thursday that refused permission for its rath yatra and directed the state to hold the meeting by Wednesday.
The chief secretary and home secretary and the director general of police shall hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12 and take a decision on the matter by December 14, the court directed.
Observing that an injunction upon the petitioner could not have been passed by the single bench, the division bench modified its ad interim order of Thursday.
The bench criticised the state government for not responding to BJP’s letters for permission to hold three rath yatras in the state.
The single bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty had said it cannot give permission at this stage for the BJP rath yatra in Coochbehar, which was scheduled to be flagged off by party president Amit Shah on Friday, after the state government refused to allow the event on the grounds that it might cause communal tension.
The rath yatra in Coochbehar was slated to be the first of the three by BJP before the Lok Sabha polls next year. The other two were to be held on December 9 from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district and on December 14 from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district.