Bengal BJP moves SC over loudspeaker ban
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.