Ben­gal BJP moves SC over loud­speaker ban

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - Bhadra Sinha let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

NEWDELHI: The West Ben­gal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has moved the Supreme Court against a six-year-old state gov­ern­ment no­ti­fi­ca­tion that pro­hibits use of loud­speak­ers in Fe­bru­ary and March in res­i­den­tial and in­sti­tu­tional ar­eas be­cause of school ex­ams.

In a pe­ti­tion filed un­der Ar­ti­cle 32, which al­lows a ci­ti­zen to ap­proach the top court di­rectly, the BJP has at­tacked the con­sti­tu­tional va­lid­ity of the Tri­namool Congress (TMC) gov­ern­ment or­der and claimed that it aims at stop­ping le­git­i­mate po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties by ri­val par­ties.

Not only is the or­der “patently over­board”, it is de­signed to cre­ate im­ped­i­ments in the BJP’S ac­tiv­i­ties as it tries to build pub­lic sup­port for the gen­eral elec­tions sched­uled in April-may, the pe­ti­tion said.

The BJP said the state gov­ern­ment was duty-bound to take steps to pre­vent noise pol­lu­tion dur­ing ex­ams but crit­i­cised the to­tal ban on use of loud­speak­ers in res­i­den­tial ar­eas. It said the mea­sures taken should strike a bal­ance be­tween the need to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and the le­git­i­mate as­pi­ra­tions of peo­ple to carry out per­mis­si­ble ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The im­pugned no­ti­fi­ca­tion, in its op­er­a­tion dur­ing the pe­riod prox­i­mate to elec­tions, es­pe­cially gen­eral elec­tions, op­er­ates way be­yond the le­git­i­mate purview of the en­vi­ron­men­tal law,” the pe­ti­tion said.

Also, it vi­o­lates the right to free­dom of speech of a po­lit­i­cal party’s mem­bers to can­vass sup­port ahead of elec­tions. Such a no­ti­fi­ca­tion af­fects vot­ers’ right to know their can­di­dates and de­nies them an op­por­tu­nity to ex­er­cise their fran­chise ef­fec­tively, the pe­ti­tion said.

This is the sec­ond time the BJP and the Ma­mata Ban­er­jee gov­ern­ment will be fac­ing off in court. The two were re­cently locked in a lit­i­ga­tion over the BJP’S pro­posed rath ya­tra in the state, which was not per­mit­ted by the gov­ern­ment. The apex court had re­fused to in­ter­vene with the de­ci­sion but al­lowed the BJP to seek fresh ap­proval from the au­thor­i­ties.

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