Calcutta HC directs WB govt to remove anti-CAA publication from online portals, Facebook pages

Calcutta HC directs WB govt to remove anti-CAA publication from online portals, Facebook pages

In an interim order passed today, the Calcutta High Court directed the West Bengal government to remove a publication relating to the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019) and NRC (National Register of Citizens) protests from all government portals and Facebook pages of government institutions and departments.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Nair Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee. The Bench passed the interim order after hearing a batch of writ petitions seeking the withdrawal of anti-CAA and NRC related advertisements on government websites and other places.

Appearing for the state government today, Advocate General Kishore Dutta submitted before the Court that the internet restrictions in West Bengal had been lifted and that a publication issued by the state government related to the anti-CAA protests was no longer in circulation.

The Court decided to leave open the legal issue as to whether the government could issue such publications at the expenses of the State or by using the government machinery. It then directed,

“Recording the submission, we hereby direct that the said publication be removed from all Government portals and facebook sites of government institutions and departments for the time being."

The Court further directed the Eastern Railway and South-Eastern Railway to submit reports pertaining to the actual loss and damages caused to railway property in the aftermath of the protests. Moreover, the authorities are required to place on record the steps taken to prevent such damage and to ensure the safety of the passengers.

Additionally, the reports must contain a clear indication of the actions taken or to be taken towards recovery of such loss caused to the railway property.

The matter has been posted for hearing on January 9, 2020.

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