Taking a strong note of the political parties using government machinery to organise public rallies, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government to respond to a petition seeking a ban on the practice.
"We expect that state machinery should not be used for state-sponsored rallies," a Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said while issuing notices to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government on the plea.
Petitioner G.D. Goyal, a senior journalist, cited four recent rallies, including those organised by the RJD president and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati at Patna and Chandigarh respectively last month, urging the court to direct the Centre and state governments to frame guidelines for traffic, security and other related arrangements of such rallies.
He pointed out that at a half-marathon event organised by a private telecom company in the capital last month, government machinery and police force were used.
Goel wanted the court to direct the political parties to pay the cost of involvement of the state machinery, including the police force, in organising such rallies.
Complaining that rallies lead to public inconvenience, traffic jams chaos in cities, Goel requested the court to ensure that there is no disturbance to the public approaching and availing of services at hospitals, airports railway stations and bus terminus.
French firm to continue mining
The Supreme Court on Friday allowed French firm Lafarge to continue mining operations in Meghalaya for extracting limestone to be used for making cement at its manufacturing plant in Bangladesh. Lafarge had challenged the order of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issued in May this year asking the company to stop work at quarries on the ground that mining was not permitted in forest areas.
With PTI inputs