Calcutta High Court orders halt to Mamata govt's anti-CAA tirade
23 December 2019
In a major setback to West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the West Bengal government to suspend all anti-CAA advertisements and take down all such ads before the next hearing of the cases on 9 January.
The direction, which comes on a batch of six petitions seeking a direction to the state government to stop sponsoring advertisements against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), is a big blow to Mamata Banerjee’s belligerent stance against the legislation.
The high court also ordered the removal of all state-sponsored advertisements against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) from public platforms.
Commenting on the Calcutta High Court's order, union minister Babul Supriyo tweeted, "If only Mamata Banerjee had taken advice from the few educated MPs and MLAs she has in her party about she (CM) not having any authority, as per our Constitution, to block an Act that's in the central list and anyone other than Didi would know that citizenship is centre's prerogative."
The state governor Jagdeep Dhankar had also accused the West Bengal chief minister of "wasting public money" on the anti-CAA and anti-NRC campaign even as Mamata Banerjee continued her criticism of the Centre's amended Citizenship Act and the NRC,
Dhankar had also demanded immediate withdrawal of the advertisements saying that they were unconstitutional.
The direction came after six petitions were filed against state government advertisements, which allegedly claimed that CAA and NRC will not be implemented in the state.
Mamata Banerjee has been leading rallies across the state demanding that the Act, which aims to give persecuted minorities from neighbouring Pakistan Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Banerjee had even called for a UN-monitored referendum on NRC and CAA that exclude Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh, Assam and Pakistan. She was criticised by many ministers of the centre for playing vote-bank politics and have demanded apologies from her.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attacked her on Sunday during his rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.
"Mamata didi reached the UN (United Nations) from Kolkata. A few years ago, she used to plead in Parliament to stop Bangladeshi infiltrators and help the persecuted refugees from there," PM Modi said.
The high court also asked the West Bengal government to provide a detailed district-wise report on the present law and order situation in the state and damage of public properties following violent protests over the amended citizenship Act.
The court on Friday asked the division bench of Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee to ask state government’s Advocate General Kishore Dutta to submit the report by Monday.
The high court also asked the AG to take instructions from the West Bengal government on its use of public funds for issuing advertisements and running campaigns against the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC.
On suspension of internet in various parts of the state by the state government, which was also challenged by the petitioners, the bench observed that the competent authorities take a call on its withdrawal or suspension based on ground realities.