The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul challenge to Trinamul bandh

Calcutta, Jan. 20: Cocking a snook at Mamata Banerjee, a Trinamul Congress functionary from Burdwan today moved the high court and sought a stay on the Bengal bandh on February 3.

Congress leader and lawyer Idris Ali filed the petition in court for Kripa Sindhu Panja, Muslim organisation Zamaet-Ur Rain and one Nazrul Islam from the city. The plea for a stay on the strike will come up for hearing in a couple of days, Ali said.

Panja, a convener of the Mangalkot Trinamul Congress Committee in Burdwan, was a party candidate in the last Assembly elections.

Ali claimed many Trinamul leaders and workers were behind Panja in his decision to move court against the bandh.

State Trinamul leaders were quick to disown Panja. “We don’t know anybody called Panja as convener in the Mangalkot area. He has introduced himself as a Trinamul convener to malign the party,” alleged one of them. Mamata, however, was not available for comment.

In their argument against the shutdown, the petitioners said the Supreme Court had declared bandhs illegal. “They (bandhs) inconvenience people. You cannot curb the fundamental rights of people by imposing a bandh on them. The court should not allow any political party to organise bandhs,” they told the court.

Representing the Zamaet-Ur-Rain, Debabrata Chatterjee said the Id-ul-Zoha would begin on February 2. “It is a three-day festival and a 12-hour bandh on February 3 will definitely mar the festive spirit. Observing festivals is the right of every religion,” he said.

While hearing a petition by the Kerala government in June 2000, the Supreme Court had observed that bandhs and hartals were opposed to the fundamental rights of people and declared them “illegal”.

Hearing a petition by advocate Supradip Roy, Justice Shyamal Sen of Calcutta High Court had passed an order in the light of the apex court judgement and declared a bandh called by Trinamul on June 7, 2002, illegal.

Trinamul MP Ajit Panja had filed a petition demanding a review of the order passed by Sen. In his modified order, the judge said though it is a fundamental right to call a bandh people have a right to move freely on the day of the bandh. Sen allowed Triamul to observe the bandh but said its supporters could not disturb those willing to work.

A similar petition was moved during a bandh called by the Socialist Unity Centre (SUC) last year and Justice A.K. Roy expressed in his judgment the helplessness of the judiciary in executing the order of the court. “The court has no power to execute the order passed by it. It can pass an order but it is (the) duty of the administration to execute the order. When political parties go against the order of the court, the court keeps silent,” he said.

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