Calcutta HC junks ‘private interest litigation’ seeking to stop BJP’s rath Yatra in WB

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Describing it a ‘private interest litigation’, the Calcutta High Court has junked a public interest litigation filed by a Calcutta lawyer seeking to stop the BJP’s rath Yatra in the state.

A division bench of the High Court headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal recorded “it is clearly established that the present writ petition has been filed by none else than a practicing advocate in this court, who is a member of the Calcutta High Court Trinamul Law Cell, the political party in power at present in the State of West Bengal”.

The order reads “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”.

Dismissing the petition filed by Advocate Ramaprasad Sarkar, the High Court held “In any case, it is for the authorities in the State to have considered the issues. Even as per the pleadings in the writ petition, the Rath Yatra was to start from February 6, 2021 and as stated in the court, has already started. Besides that, a number of political rallies are being held at different places in the State”. The High Court also recorded that Sarkar had filed the petition a day after he had submitted a representation to the State government seeking similar relief. Thus, giving no time to the State government to respond to his representation.

Opposing the petition, an Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India had raised a preliminary objection regarding maintainability of the petition in public interest with reference to locus of the petitioner. The ASG had referred to the representation dated February 2 filed by the petitioner to various authorities raising his grievance.

The ASG had submitted that though the representation is dated February 02 but there is nothing specifically stated in the petition as to when the same was submitted to the authorities concerned. For filing the writ petition in the High Court court, the affidavit was got attested by the petitioner on February 03 and the petition was filed in court on the same day.

The ASG had further contended that the representation dated February 02 filed by the petitioner wherein the petitioner has identified himself as an advocate, member of the Calcutta High Court Trinamul Law Cell. The ASG had claimed that the petition has not been filed in public interest rather it is politically motivated, hence, should not be entertained. It was further argued by another lawyer that the Court cannot be used as a platform by the petitioner for political gain. The ASG told the Court that a representation dated February 02 was

filed by the petitioner to various authorities, stating therein that a Rath Yatra being planned by a political party in West Bengal, may result in spreading the Covid-19 virus and may also create law and order problem.

There is no specific pleading in the writ petition about the mode of service of the representation to the addressees, the ASG had contended.





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