SC refuses to entertain BJP's plea against Calcutta HC order on advertisements during LS polls

Senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for the BJP, sought permission to withdraw the matter after the bench expressed disinclination to entertain the matter.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaFile Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by the BJP challenging a Calcutta High Court order restraining it from publish any derogatory advertisements targeting the ruling TMC by violating the Model Code of Conduct during the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections.

A vacation bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and K V Viswanathan refused to interfere with the high court order.

"We have seen the advertisements. Prima Facie, the advertisements are disparaging. We don't want to lend our hands to promote further acrimony," the two-judge vacation bench of the top court, led by Justice J K Maheshwari and Justice KV Viswanathan said.

The top court further remarked that such ads will not help the voter. It asked senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for the appellant party (BJP) not to precipitate the matter, saying the advertisement was not in the interest of voters and the rival party was not your enemy.

After hearing these remarks and observations from the top court, Patwalia then preferred to withdraw the petition, saying he would prefer to file a reply before the High Court's single judge bench which passed the interim order.

Earlier on, May 24, mentioning the matter before the two-judge vacation bench of the top court, led by Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal, senior advocate Saurabh Mishra, for the BJP, sought urgent hearing into the case.

The judges of the top court, did not fix any date to hear the case, but said, "We will see it."

Initially, on May 20, the Calcutta HC's single-judge bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, in its order had restrained the BJP from publishing such ads until further orders, after finding the advertisements in question to be in violation of the MCC.

Justice Bhattacharyya, in his order, had also pulled up the Election Commission of India (ECI) for "grossly failing" to address the complaints filed by the TMC against BJP advertisements that targeted the ruling party in West Bengal.

Supreme Court of India
SC to hear BJP's plea against Calcutta HC order on advertisements during LS polls

The order had been passed by the single-judge bench, after hearing a petition filed by TMC to restrain the BJP from carrying such ads. The TMC had objected to certain ads published by the BJP in certain newspapers against the Mamata Banerjee- led party.

This single-judge order was challenged by the BJP in the two-judge bench of the HC, which also refused to entertain BJP's prayers on May 22.

The two-judge bench of the HC, headed by the Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam and also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, refusing to grant any relief to the BJP, directed that the party should not to publish any advertisement violating the MCC during the Lok Sabha election process.

While refusing to interfere to the single-judge bench order, the two-judge bench had observed that all political parties needed to follow healthy electoral practices, as the ultimate victim of misleading electoral campaigns was the voter.

The division bench also observed that a "Laxman Rekha" should be adhered to, and added that there should not be any personal attack on the part of any political party.

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