Calcutta high court severely indicts West Bengal govt in post-poll violence case – Times of India

Kolkata News

NEW DELHI: The Calcutta high court, while ordering on Thursday a court-monitored CBI probe into the alleged murder and rape cases during post-poll violence in West Bengal, has severely indicted the chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led state government.
The high court observed the state government’s “lukewarm” response to the FIRs registered in the incidents of “grievous, serious and heinous” offences. In its order, the court has asked the CBI to file a report by six weeks.
Citing portions of a report submitted by an inquiry committee constituted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on its order, the Calcutta high court expressed shock and said, “In 60 per cent of the cases, FIRs were not registered. This is despite the fact that on account of shortage of time, the Committee could not record the statements of a number of complainants and victims.”
The high court goes on to state: “From the report of the Committee, sample data can be culled out which show that in 20 cases of murder, where the complaints were referred to by the Committee to the police for registration of FIRs but lukewarm response from the state.”
The high court further said: “Another glaring example of inaction by the state is evident from the data furnished in the report of the Committee where for heinous crime against women, such as rape or attempt to rape, made in the complaints presented by the complainants before the Committee, which were referred to the police, but propoer steps have not been taken to investigate the heinous crime, which could inspire confidence in the law-enforcing agencies.”
The high court took serious exception to the lackadaisical approach of the Mamata government towards the offences. In para 97, it said, “What is very serious is that the state has not responded to offences of murder and rape tabulated as referred to in the the judgment of the Hon’ble Chief Justice (Acting). The offences are grievous, serious and heinous. It may be as a result of post poll violence. It may well be in the usual course of affairs. The fact remains that each of these offences needs serious investigation. That is the expectation of the people of this state. If this expectation is fulfilled, their faith in the rule of law and in the justice delivery system will be maintained and enhanced. Allegations have been made against the state alleging apathy towards investigation of these crimes.”
The high court said the voluminous documents formed part of the record cry of the deprived persons and it was a salutary function of the court to protect their rights guaranteed under the Constitution. “The Court cannot be a mute spectator nor should be apathetic to the voices of the persons who felt aggrieved but must rise to an occasion to protect such rights,” it said.
While delivering the judgment, the Calcutta high court has also ordered to set up a special investigation team (SIT) for investigation into other offences. Senior officers from West Bengal cadre will be a part of the SIT.
The state government has been asked to hand over all documents and records to the investigating agencies. “In case, the state is not acting properly, it will be viewed seriously,” the high court stated.
The order came in response to a set of PILs seeking an impartial probe into alleged post-poll violence in West Bengal.
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.
The high court had ordered the NHRC to constitute an inquiry committee to probe various accusations during the “post-poll violence”.
In its report, the NHRC panel recommended a CBI probe into the “grievous offences like murder and rape” which allegedly took place during the post-poll violence and said the trial should be held outside the state.
The report strongly criticised the Mamata Banerjee-led state government for allegedly failing to stem the political violence that erupted after the Trinamool Congress’s victory in the assembly elections.