SC declines to entertain BJP plea against Calcutta HC order on anti-TMC ads

Wednesday 29th May 2024 07:43 EDT

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a challenge by the BJP against a Calcutta High Court order restraining it from publishing derogatory ads against the Trinamool Congress.

A vacation bench of Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice KV Viswanathan said the ads were prima facie “disparaging”, and “we are not inclined to interfere [with the HC’s order]”.

“…You can say you are the best…but…we don’t want to lend our hands to promote further acrimony… This is not in the interests of the voter. This will degenerate… Don’t precipitate the issue…,” the Bench told counsel for BJP, according to LiveLaw. The counsel then withdrew the petition, and was allowed by the court to file a reply before the single-judge bench of the High Court.

On May 22, a bench of Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya dismissed a petition challenging an order passed by a single-judge Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya on May 20 restraining the BJP from “publishing advertisements in any form of media which is violative of the MCC” (Model Code of Conduct) until June 4 (date of counting) or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

“A perusal of the impugned advertisements…clearly evince that those are in violation of the letter and spirit of the MCC… In the garb of advertisements, the…allegations and publications made against the petitioner are outright derogatory and definitely intended at insulting the rivals and levelling personal attacks against its functionaries,” the single-judge Bench had said.

A vacation bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and K V Viswanathan also questioned the EC for not acting promptly on TMC’s May 15 complaint against BJP’s advertisements. The EC had issued notice to BJP three days later on May 18. The HC on May 20 had stopped BJP from publishing such advertisements. “Why did the EC not do anything even after the HC passed the order? Even after this order from HC, did EC do something? It is a question of the independence of EC. We are not inclined to interfere with this order. We have seen the advertisements. Do not precipitate the issue,” the bench told senior advocate PS Patwalia, who appeared for BJP.

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