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Judiciary

BJP Moves Supreme Court Against Calcutta High Court's Ban on "Derogatory" Ads Targeting TMC

By Jhanak Singh      24 May, 2024 12:12 PM      0 Comments
BJP Moves Supreme Court Against Calcutta High Courts Ban on Derogatory Ads Targeting TMC

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has moved the Supreme Court to challenge a Calcutta High Court order that prevents it from publishing "derogatory" or "slanderous" advertisements targeting the Trinamool Congress (TMC) during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The petition was brought up for an urgent hearing before a bench comprising Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal, who stated they would consider listing the matter.

"It was an ex parte order, in force till June 4," noted the counsel representing the BJP.

Justice Trivedi, expressing reluctance to hear the matter immediately, suggested,

"Why do you not move the next vacation bench?"

However, upon the counsel's insistence for an urgent hearing, the Court responded,

"Okay, we will see."

On Wednesday, a division bench of the High Court had refused to interfere with a single-judge's interim order restraining the BJP from publishing "derogatory" or "slanderous" advertisements against TMC.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, underscored the necessity for all political parties to adhere to healthy electoral practices, noting that misleading electoral campaigns ultimately harm the voter.

The High Court made these observations while hearing an appeal by the BJP against the May 20 order by Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya. The single judge had also criticized the Election Commission of India (ECI) for "grossly failing" to address the complaints filed by the TMC against BJP advertisements targeting the ruling party in West Bengal.

The order was issued in response to a petition by TMC seeking to restrain the BJP from publishing such advertisements. The TMC had cited specific ads published in certain newspapers against the Mamata Banerjee-led party.

The single-judge found the advertisements in question to be in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and restrained the BJP from publishing them until further orders.

"A perusal of the impugned ads published on various dates in this month clearly evinces that those are in violation of the letter and spirit of the MCC, which clearly prohibits all participants in the election process from criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion," observed the single-judge.



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