“Filing of a writ petition by an advocate, who is directly connected with a political party in power raising issues against other political party during election time cannot be said to be in larger public interest….” said the Calcutta High Court
By: Mahima Jain of School of Law, DAVV, Indore.
Background of the Plea
The plea stated that there are high chances of deterioration of the Covid-19 pandemic situation as well as chances of serious break down of law-and-order situation of the state if the Yatras are allowed to take place.
As per media reports, BJP has sought permission from the State Government to hold “Rath Yatra” throughout the state and the same would be commencing from February 6, 2021. As reported by the Indian Express, BJP plans to take out 5 such yatras from 5 of its organizational zones in the state, crisscrossing every Assembly constituency in the state.
The Calcutta High Court, on Thursday (11th February), dismissed a plea moved before it against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ‘RathYatra’ in poll-bound West Bengal.
The Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Aniruddha Roy was hearing the plea of one Rama Prasad Sarkar, a lawyer by profession, seeking High Court’s intervention to prevent BJP from holding the “Rath Yatras” in the state. The petitioner, Rama Prasad Sarkar had contended that the conduct of the RathYatra may result in the spread of COVID-19 and create law and order problems.
A Bench of Justices Rajesh Bindal and Aniruddha Roy, however, opined that the petitioner’s position as a lawyer who is part of the Calcutta High Court Trinamul Law Cell, which is affiliated with the political party, presently in power in West Bengal, had rendered the writ petition politically motivated.
“Filing of a writ petition by an advocate, who is directly connected with a political party in power raising issues against other political party during election time cannot be said to be in larger public interest. It can be said to be a private interest litigation,” the order said.
Moreover, the Court also took note of the submission made by Additional Solicitor General YJ Dastoor that the petitioner may not have sent his representation against the conduct of the RathYatra in time for the authorities to take a call on the issue.
In this regard, it was argued that while the petitioner’s representation is dated February 2, there is nothing to show that he had sent the representation on that date. Further, the writ petition was filed in the High Court on February 3.
“The fact remains that when the writ petition was filed in this court, the representation filed by the petitioner may not have even been received by the addressees therein, even if sent by the petitioner,” the Bench opined, on this aspect.
Lastly, the Court observed that it is for the authorities in the State to have considered the issues. The Court also noted that a number of political rallies are being held at different places in the State. Stating that the present writ petition cannot be entertained as public interest litigation, the same was, accordingly, dismissed.
Advocates Achintya Kumar Banerjee and Indumouli Banerjee appeared for the petitioner, who also appeared party in person. Apart from ASG Dastoor, Advocates PhirozeEdulji, MrinaliniMajumdar and RK Shah appeared for the Central Government.
Senior Advocates Mahesh Jethmalani and DhirajTrivedi, with M/s Neelanchan Bhattacharya and Advocates Billwadal Bhattacharya, Vikash Singh, RajdeepMajumdar, Mayukh Mukherjee, KP Dalpaty and Rahul Singh appeared for intervenors.
Advocates ParthaGhosh and Amal Kumar Dutta appeared for other respondents in the matter.
Advocate General Kishore Datta, Additional Government Pleader AbhratoshMajumdar and Advocate Sayan Sinha, appeared for the State.