Kolkata, Jan 10 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Sunday permitted an organisation of para teachers to stage a demonstration in the vicinity of Shaheed Minar from January 11 to 13 with a rider that the total number of participants will not exceed 500 at any point of time.
Hearing the matter on a Sunday considering the urgency of the application, Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya directed that the petitioners shall maintain all COVID-19 protocols as well as pollution-control regulations.
Disposing of the petition, the court further directed that the demonstration by a maximum of 500 persons shall be peaceful and not in contravention of any extant law.
The organisation of para teachers claimed that Kolkata Police has refused to give permission for a procession and the sit-in demonstration at Shaheed Minar area near Esplanade in the heart of the city.
It stated that subsequent to filing of the writ petition before the court, the Army, which is the owner of the land, granted permission on January 8 for use of the Saheed Minar ground from January 11 to 13 for holding of 'teachers' gathering'.
Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, counsel for the petitioners, submitted that it is the constitutional right of the para teachers to hold such demonstration and such right cannot be curtailed by administrative inaction.
He said police refused permission on the ground that the Ganga Sagar Mela transit camp is established in the Maidan area, and it is totally geared up for various activities associated with the movement of pilgrims.
The counsel for the West Bengal government submitted that as per the application of the petitioners, there would be an expected turn-out of 50,000 teachers, 'which would be preposterous', particularly keeping in view the pandemic situation.
Allowing the sit-in demonstration by a maximum of 500 para teachers at any point of time, the court observed that 50,000 participants for a procession cannot be permitted under any rhyme or reason amid the pandemic situation. PTI AMR RBT RBT