All ads that say West Bengal will not implement the amended citizenship law and the citizens' list should be taken off air, the Calcutta High Court told the government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today.
The order by a division bench of Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Radhakrishnan came after several petitions were filed against the Bengal government for airing the ads against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the NRC amid protests.
Ms Banerjee has said her government won't implement the new law and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), meant to eventually help purge illegal migrants, which Home Minister Amit Shah and other BJP ministers have said the government plans to take across the country after its introduction in Assam earlier this year.
Advocate General Kishore Dutta on behalf of the Bengal government said the ads have been taken off air for now; however, the petitioners said the ads were still visible on the website of the West Bengal Police.
The court will hear the matter next on January 9.
The court order came even as the BJP held a massive rally in support of the amended citizenship law in Kolkata. BJP MP JP Nadda, who landed in Kolkata this afternoon, is taking part in the rally.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while launching the BJP's Delhi election campaign yesterday sought to assure people that there are no talks of taking the NRC across the length and breadth of the country.
"I want to tell the 130 crore citizens of India that since my government has come to power, since 2014, there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere. Only after the Supreme Court's order, this exercise was done for Assam," he said in his 97-minute speech.
The Congress and Mamata Banerjee immediately called out the PM on the issue. In a tweet, Mamata Banerjee accused him of contradicting his Home Minister Amit Shah.
Whatever I said is there in public forum, whatever you said is there for people to judge. With #PM contradicting #HomeMinister publicly on Nationwide NRC, who is dividing fundamental idea of India? People will definitely decide who is right & who is wrong #IRejectCAA#IRejectNRC— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 22, 2019
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.