The Calcutta High Court on Monday granted police protection to 303 alleged victims of violence that had taken place post the declaration of the West Bengal assembly elections in May 2021. The Court vide order dated August 19, 2021 had handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the investigation of cases related to murder, rape and crime against women whereas a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been constituted to investigate other criminal cases related to post-poll violence.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajrashi Bharadwaj took on record a detailed affidavit filed by petitioner Priyanka Tibrewal appearing in person wherein the names and contact details of 303 alleged victims of post-poll violence had been enumerated.
The petitioner further apprised the Bench that if police protection is not granted to these victims then they will face serious difficulty as they are constantly facing threats from local goons and that police authorities are also refusing to take any action. The Court was informed further that out of the 303 alleged victims, 47 of them included victims who were unable to go back to their workplace, 92 of them included victims who whose houses had been demolished and 164 of them included victims who had been forcefully evicted from their houses and were therefore unable to go back to their places of residence.
Taking cognisance of the grievance raised, the Court directed the petitioner to serve a copy of the affidavit filed to the Advocate General as well as the DG & IG of Police, West Bengal so that necessary action could be taken. Furthermore, the DG & IG of Police was directed to ensure that the 303 alleged victims are not harassed by police authorities or local goons.
During the hearing, the petitioner also averred that a Committee should be constituted comprising 2 members- one from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and another from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) so that the affidavit containing the names of the 303 alleged victims can be placed before the Committee in order to ascertain the real ground position.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the petitioner to implead the NHRC as a party to the instant proceedings.
The Court also took on record the fourth status report filed by the CBI. Additional Solicitor General Y.J Dastoor appearing for the CBI apprised the Bench that the 28 cases which were under investigation as indicated during the previous hearing is still under investigation by the CBI.
Furthermore, the Court also took on record the latest status report filed by the SIT wherein it had been enumerated that 32 cases are currently pending investigation by the SIT.
Directing the State government to file its response to the affidavit submitted by petitioner Priyanka Tibrewal, the Court listed the matter for further hearing on April 19.
Case Title: Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India and other connected matters