Ever since Justice Amitava Lala of the Calcutta High Court restricted political rallies and processions to select venues on holidays and weekends, and banned them between 8 am and 8 pm on Calcutta's streets, the political class in West Bengal has been up in arms against the judiciary. Justice Lala's 'experimental measures' were seen as a travesty of fundamental democratic rights. Trade unions shouted themselves hoarse against it. A series of protest rallies were on the cards when a division bench ordered a stay on the directives. It has urged the state to indicate its position by the third week of November.
Calcutta has already been burdened with 610 marches this year. Add to that countless political meetings, often five or six a day, and one realises why the average citizen sees a lot of sense in the court's directive. The business chambers, working professionals and common people, fed up with being left stranded by marches and meetings, welcomed Lala's judgement. The judge had incidentally initiated a suo motu case after he was held up by a procession of tribals.