calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: In a writ petition preferred by the petitioner, District President of the opposition party seeking permission to visit the village Netai on 07-01-2024 for an hour between 10.30 AM and 5.00 PM, along with associates, including the Leader of Opposition, to garland the Shahid Bedi at Netai to pay tribute to the victims of the Netai Massacre, a single-judge bench comprising of Jay Sengupta, J., granted permission to the petitioner and the Leader of Opposition to visit Shahid Bedi between 5 PM and 6 PM on 07-01-2024, as the Netai Sahid Smirti Raksha Committee is to conclude their function by 5 PM on 07-01-2024.

The petitioner’s case is that on 02-01-2022, the petitioner sought permission to hold a function at Shahid Bedi on 07-01-2024. However, on 07-12-2023, the Inspector in Charge informed the petitioner that Netai Sahid Smirti Raksha Committee had already obtained permission for rituals on 06-01-2024 and 07-01-2024.

The petitioner contended that the petitioner along with the Leader of Opposition, had been paying homage for the last 12 years and though the Committee had shifted allegiance, the petitioner still wishes to pay tribute. The petitioner cited a previous court order dated 05.01.2022, stating that no special permission is needed for any Indian citizen to visit any part of the country, including Netai.

The Advocate General submitted that the Committee was granted permission, and efforts were made to conclude their function by 5 PM on 07-01-2024 for the petitioner and the Leader of Opposition to visit. The Committee, although not a party, is granted leave to submit. The Committee contended that they have been conducting the program for 12 years, plan to start at 6 AM on 07.01.2024, and have no objection if others want to pay homage after 5 PM.

The Court noted the earlier order permitting the Leader of Opposition to visit the venue. Considering the circumstances, the Court allowed the petitioner and the Leader of Opposition to visit Shahid Bedi on 07-01-2024 between 5 PM and 6 PM and issued following directions:

  1. The Committee and participants must conclude their program by 4.30 PM on the same day.

  2. The Administration shall ensure security measures to prevent untoward incidents.

  3. Parties are prohibited from making it a political issue, engaging in slogan shouting, or giving political speeches.

  4. The events from 06.01.2024 to 07.01.2024 may be videographed by police authorities.

The writ petition is disposed of with the specified permissions and conditions.

[Tufan Mahata v. State of W.B., 2024 SCC OnLine Cal 104, order dated 05-01-2024]

*Judgment by Justice Jay Sengupta

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Rajdeep Majumder, Mr. Moyukh Mukherjee and Ms. Sagnika Banerjee, Counsel for the Petitioner

Mr. Saptansu Basu, Sr. Adv and Ms. Ananya Das, Counsel for the Netai Sahid Smirti Raksha Committee

Mr. Kishore Dutta, Sr. Adv & Ld. AG, Mr. Amitesh Banerjee, Sr. Adv and Mr. Rudrajit Sarkar, Counsel for the State

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