No Derogatory Ads Against Trinamool, High Court Tells BJP, Pulls Up Poll Body

"The allegations and publications made against TMC are outright derogatory and definitely intended at insulting the rivals and levelling personal attacks," the judge said.


The BJP cannot publish derogatory advertisements against Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress, especially during the 'silence period' (a day prior to the polls and the polling day), the Calcutta High Court has said. This, the judge said, violates the Model Code of Conduct, and the rights of the Trinamool Congress and people to fair elections. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya also admonished the Election Commission of India for "grossly failing" to address the complaints filed by the Trinamool in this matter.

"The allegations and publications made against TMC are outright derogatory and definitely intended to insult the rivals and level personal attacks," the judge said.

"Hence, the said ads being directly contradictory to the MCC as well as a violation of the rights of the petitioner and all citizens of India to free, fair and untainted election process. The BJP, thus ought to be restrained from further publishing such ads until further orders," the judge said in the order.

The Election Commission, the judge said, has "grossly failed to address the complaints of the TMC in due time".

"This 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 in due time this court is constrained to pass an injunction order," Justice Bhattacharya said in his order.

Earlier, the Commission has sent a notice to the state BJP  chief Sukanta Majumdar, questioning why the ads should not be considered a violation of the Model Code. The English transcript provided in the notices said one ad was titled "Trinamool is root cause of corruption" and the other, "Anti-Sanatan Trinamool". He was asked to respond on the matter by 5 pm tomorrow.

Bengal -- where a bitter fight is on between the BJP and the Trinamool -- votes in all seven phases.