Road Can Not Be Blocked Entirely For Public Meeting & Rally: HC


Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday asked the state to ensure that arterial roads are not completely clogged due to rallies and processions and a part of the carriageway is left free for vehicular and pedestrian movement. The high court, however, left it to the state to build a consensus among all stakeholders on organising all rallies and processions on weekends or holidays.

Holding that the right to free movement was also a fundamental right under Article 19(1) D of the Constitution along with that to hold political rallies and processions, the court said one shouldn’t be allowed at the cost of the other.

The order, by the division bench of Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee, came on a PIL filed in 2015 seeking judicial intervention on the tendency to block entire stretches of roads for rallies and processions.

Three years back, the HC division bench presided by then Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Joymalya Bagchi had directed the petitioner to serve copies of his petition to all 38 political parties, both state and national, in Bengal.

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The state government had earlier told the court that it was trying to build a consensus among political parties to avoid workday rallies in the BBD Bag area and the education hubs of College Street and Jadavpur. On June 1, 2017, the Kolkata Police commissioner had even issued a notification banning rallies and processions in College Street on weekdays, but the order was later relaxed.