February 11: In an important development on Monday, the Supreme Court of India refused to consider a plea by the West Bengal BJP against the state government’s 2013 order prohibiting use of loudspeakers during the political rallies in the month of February-March due to board examinations. The prohibition on use of loudspeakers applies in residential and institutional areas because of school exams.
The Supreme Court ruled that, “Children’s studies are more important than election campaigning.” The setback comes amid the BJP’s bitter fight with the Trinamool Congress in the run-up to the general elections.
It was learnt that a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Sanjiv Khanna declined to entertain the plea advanced by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of the state BJP contending that the use of loudspeakers could be allowed during the restricted time at public places like grounds for the purpose of holding rallies. On the court’s disinclination to hear the matter, Rohatgi preferred to withdraw the application.
The West Bengal unit of BJP, which had filed the petition, had attacked the constitutional validity of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government order and had accused the state government of going “patently overboard”. The petition had claimed that it was aimed at stopping legitimate political activities by the BJP as it tries to build public support for the general elections scheduled in April-May.