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BJP Challenges Calcutta High Court’s Ad Ban in Supreme Court Amid Lok Sabha Elections

On Friday, May 24, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) approached the Supreme Court to contest a Calcutta High Court order that upheld a single-judge directive preventing the party from publishing advertisements that violate the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

A vacation bench comprising Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mittal considered the urgent listing of the matter.

Advocate Saurabh Mishra, representing the BJP, informed the bench that the high court had restricted the party from issuing advertisements during the elections until June 4. He added that the division bench of the Calcutta High Court had passed this order on Wednesday, May 22.

The bench inquired, “Why don’t you move the next vacation bench?” Advocate Mishra requested that the current vacation bench take up the matter on Monday, May 27, to which the bench responded, “We will see.”

On May 22, a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court declined to lift the restriction on the BJP from publishing derogatory advertisements about the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

“Let us be very clear, we aren’t inclined to interfere for more than one reason. Firstly, this is an interim order. Secondly, you say you weren’t heard—so go and seek review and recall of this order,” the bench comprising Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya stated.

The BJP argued that the single judge had issued the order without a hearing, prompting the party to appeal to the division bench.

The party’s counsel also highlighted that, according to the Constitution, the Election Commission is the authority responsible for addressing disputes during the election process.

Previously, on May 20, the Calcutta High Court had restrained the BJP from publishing derogatory advertisements about the TMC until further notice. The court criticized the Election Commission of India (ECI) for failing to address the TMC’s complaints regarding these ads, which were allegedly slanderous and violated the MCC during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

A single bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, upon reviewing the advertisements, found them to be in violation of both the MCC and the Press Council of India guidelines. The court pointed out that the ECI’s lack of timely action forced the Court to issue an injunction.

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