The Calcutta High Court will pronounce its ruling on a group of petitions demanding an impartial investigation into alleged post-election violence in West Bengal. According to the ’cause list’ posted by the high court on Wednesday, a five-judge bench presided over by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal will pronounce the judgement on the matter.
An inquiry committee of NHRC was ordered by the bench to probe accusations of human rights violations during the “post-poll violence". The panel, in its report, indicted the Mamata Banerjee government, as it recommended handing over the investigation in grievous crimes like rape and murder to the CBI and said that the cases should be tried outside the state. The NHRC committee report said that other cases should be investigated by a court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) and for adjudication, there should be fast track courts, special public prosecutors and a witness protection scheme.
On August 3, hearing in the matter was concluded and the order was reserved by the bench, also comprising justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.
The PILs alleged that people were subjected to assault, made to flee homes and their properties were destroyed as a result of post-poll violence in West Bengal and sought an impartial probe into these and protection of life and liberty. Opposing the findings and recommendations of the NHRC committee report, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the state DGP, had claimed during submissions that it was erroneous and biased.
Claiming that a few members of the NHRC panel had links with the opposition BJP, he prayed that it should be rejected by the court. The committee had in its scathing remarks in the final report said, “This was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main opposition party." Maintaining that the acts of violence resulted in disruption of life and livelihood of thousands of people and their economic strangulation, the report said, “The local police has been grossly derelict, if not complicit, in this violence." Denying alleged inaction by the police, state Advocate General Kishore Dutta had submitted that suo motu FIRs were registered by the police in several cases apart from those in complaints sent by the NHRC.
Appearing for the Union of India, Additional Solicitor General Y J Dastoor had submitted that it was ready to conduct a probe by any central investigating agency like the CBI as per the high court’s order.
(With PTI inputs)