Calcutta High Court: Shampa Sarkar, J. took up a petition which was filed with an allegation that the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata did not grant permission to Utshi United Primary Teachers Welfare Association to take out a peaceful procession on 11-06-2022 from Raja Subodh Mullick Square Park to Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
The petitioner association had organized a protest rally on 11-06-2022 between 12 noon and 4 p.m. with an expectation of around 3,000 people, use of 5 vehicles and 20 loudspeakers was also mentioned. Accordingly, a permission was sought for from the Commissioner of Police and it was alleged that he had not responded to such request dated 31-05-2022. Thus, the instant petition was filed.
According to senior standing counsel neither the Commissioner of Police nor the officer of Kolkata Police have ever objected to peaceful marches. It was further submitted that if the protest march is restricted to the route as mentioned in the application and there is no destruction of public property or unruly behaviour during such march, the police will keep a vigil, but shall not disturb the procession. It was however requested that if it is found during such rally that the protesters obstruct the traffic or cause damage to any property or commit public nuisance, the police authority must be allowed to take preventive measures.
The Court finding that the petitioner wishes to have a peaceful rally with limited number of loudspeakers and vehicles issued certain directions allowing the rally:
- The protest rally through the route as mentioned hereinabove, shall be held peacefully strictly between 12.00 noon to 4.00 p.m. The loudspeakers, if used, shall be within the permissible sound limit;
- Banners and placards will be permitted, but instigating speeches and abusive language will not be permitted.
- The rally shall be moving in a way that the common passerby and the vehicular passage is not
- The procession will end at Rani Rashmoni Avenue and the protesters may hold a meeting at Rani Rashmoni Avenue for not more than an hour.
- The assembly at Rani Rashmoni Avenue shall end by 3.45 p.m. and the entire crowd shall disperse by 4 p.m.
It was made clear that police authorities shall be at liberty to ensure that no breach of peace takes place and law and order is maintained.
[Usthi United Primary Teachers Welfare Assn. v. State of West Bengal, WPA 10043 of 2022, decided on 09-06-2022]
Mr Bikram Banerjee, Mr Sudipta Dasgupta, Ms Dipa Acharyya : for the Petitioners
Mr Amitesh Banerjee, Ms Ipsita Banerjee : for the State