Nation Current Affairs 13 Jan 2017 Calcutta HC allows R ...

Calcutta HC allows RSS to hold rally in Kolkata tomorrow

PTI
Published Jan 13, 2017, 5:11 pm IST
Updated Jan 13, 2017, 5:11 pm IST
HC directed that the programme be held, subject to some restrictions including a cap of 4,000 on the number of attendees.
RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat (Photo: PTI)
 RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat (Photo: PTI)

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Friday allowed the RSS to hold a programme, which is to be attended by its supremo Mohan Bhagwat, at the Brigade Parade Ground here tomorrow.

Rejecting refusal of permission by Kolkata Police, Justice Joymalyo Bagchi directed that the programme be held at Brigade Parade Ground, subject to some restrictions including a cap of 4,000 on the number of attendees.

 

The police had refused permission to the organisers to hold the programme, both for an earlier venue of Bhukailash Park in the western part of the city and Brigade Parade Ground.

The petitioners submitted before the court that Makar Sankranti Utsav is an annual event and is organised on a specific date and cannot be postponed as suggested by Advocate General Jayanta Mitra.

The petitioners' counsel, Anindya Mitra, also submitted that the organisers had already taken permission of the Army, which is the custodian of the Maidan area where the Brigade Parade Ground is situated in the heart of the city.

 

Specifying the restrictions, Justice Bagchi directed that the organising secretary, Kolkata Mahanagar unit of RSS, which is holding the programme where drills and other activities would be held with the participation of Mohan Bhagwat, would have to give an affidavit before the court that no person without proper registration and identity card be allowed to attend the programme.

The organisers would have to give an undertaking to the court as also the Kolkata Police authorities to bear the cost of any unruly behaviour by any person related to the programme scheduled to be held from 2 PM to 6 PM tomorrow.

 

The court also directed that the police might remove any person who was not an invitee and would also have to ensure adequate deployment of force to ensure maintenance of law and order.

Justice Bagchi directed that the organisers would have to furnish the names of all attendees to the court and the police.

The organisers had initially sought permission from the police to hold the programme at Bhukailash Park in the western part of the city, which had been refused on the ground that roads leading to the park were narrow and that there would not be adequate space for around 5,000 people as proposed by the organisers.

 

It was also said that as Bhagwat enjoys Z-plus category security, it would not be advisable to hold the meeting there owing to security perceptions.

The organisers had then approached the court seeking direction to the police to allow them to hold the function there or alternatively at Brigade Parade Ground.

Justice Bagchi had on January 11 directed the commissioner of Kolkata Police to consider their application within 24 hours and communicate its decision to the organisers.

The police said that owing to the ongoing Gangasagar Mela for which a transit camp was set up at Babughat at the other end of the Maidan and also because of deployment of force for that purpose, it would be not be possible to give permission to the event at Brigade Parade Ground.

 

Following the refusal, the petitioners moved the court again today seeking permission to hold the rally at either Bhukailash or Brigade Parade Ground.

Passing the order, Justice Bagchi observed that the crux of the reason for refusal of permission is congregation of pilgrims for Gangasagar, but there has been no application of mind to the fact that attendance to the programme is by invitation only.

Justice Bagchi also observed that adequacy of space at Brigade Parade Ground was not an issue.

The court points out that during Durga Pujas many pandals are erected in the city and many stand cheek by jowl, but permission is granted to all these pujas.

 

Justice Bagchi observed that reasons cited by the authorities for declining permission were vague and non-specific in nature.

The high court quashed the order of police authorities denying permission for the RSS programme not only on the ground that it was not in consonance with its order of January 11 but also on merits.

The order came a day after a division bench of the high court allowed 'Sansad Mela' at Asansol in the constituency of Union minister Babul Supriyo.

The Asansol Municipal Corporation had denied permission to the fair designed to showcase the central government's programmes on the ground that the venue at Loco Stadium of Eastern Railway would not be able to accommodate a large gathering and thus may pose a security and safety hazard.

 

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