National News

Sandeshkhali: HC Sets Aside Prohibitory Orders Under Section 144

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday set aside the imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal. This comes after over a week of protests in the area sparked by allegations of violence and land grabbing by ruling party affiliates.

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Two local residents filed a petition seeking the court’s intervention to lift the restrictions on public gatherings. Justice Jay Sengupta ruled that the manner in which Section 144 was enacted by the district administration was not justified.

The petitioners’ counsel, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, argued that there were no grounds for imposing prohibitory orders in Sandeshkhali. He claimed it was an attempt to unlawfully limit the rights of people to protest peacefully against alleged atrocities.

The state contested the plea, saying it must also consider whether there were reasonable grounds for such demonstrations and that some protests had turned violent.

Sandeshkhali has been tense since a mob attacked Enforcement Directorate officials who were searching the property of a senior TMC leader last month. This sparked a series of protests over complaints of assaults on women and land grabs enabled by the ruling party.

In his ruling, Justice Sengupta asserted citizens’ rights to dissent. He set aside the prohibitory orders as excessive while acknowledging the need to maintain law and order. The judgement calls for a balanced approach that does not suppress the legitimate grievances of locals.

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