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Calcutta High Court restrains BJP from publishing derogatory ads against Trinamool Congress

The Calcutta High Court today restrained the BJP from publishing any kind of derogatory advertisements against the Trinamool Congress (TMC) till further orders.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya also pulled up the Election Commission of India (ECI) for grossly failing to address the complaints filed by the TMC against BJP ads in which the ruling party in West Bengal was targeted.

In the order, Justice Bhattacharya said that the ECI has grossly failed to address the complaints of the TMC in due time. He added that the Court is surprised that resolution of the complaints after the conclusion of elections is nothing to the court and as such in due failure on part of the ECI. Following, the judge said that the court is constrained to pass an injunction order.

The Court noted that the ads by BJP during the silence period, a day prior to the polls and the polling day, were violative of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the rights of the TMC and also the citizens’ right to fair elections.

The court observed that the allegations and publications made against TMC are outright derogatory and definitely intended at insulting the rivals and levelling personal attacks. It highlighted that the said ads are directly contradictory to the MCC as well as being violative of the rights of the Petitioner and all citizens of India to free, fair and untainted election process. Subsequently, it ordered the BJP to be restrained from publishing such ads until further orders.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that the advertisements being run by the respondents were apparently slanderous and that they were a direct violation of the MCC which prohibits political parties from running advertisements along the lines of caste, creed or religion. He added that although a complaint had been made before the ECI there was no action taken, till a resolution was taken out after filing of the writ petition.

Meanwhile, the ECI’s counsel stated that the matter was sub-judice before them and that a verdict of court may influence the outcome of those proceedings. It added that the only remedy available to the petitioners was in the form of an election petition, and that no such prayers for an injunction could be entertained at the present stage.

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