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Contempt for cop inaction

Calcutta High Court sent a petitioner back to the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Barasat and asked her to seek contempt proceedings against the police for inaction.

Devi Mondal, whose son Jagannath was found dead in March 2007, moved the high court on Thursday after the North 24-Parganas police failed to carry out the CJM’s order.

After hearing the plight of the mother seeking justice for her son’s death, Justice P.C. Ghosh directed Devi to go back to the Barasat court and ask the CJM to issue contempt notices to the police for not complying with the court’s directive.

“The Supreme Court has recently ruled that CJMs have the power to issue contempt notices to authorities concerned for not doing their duty. So, the high court sent Devi back to the CJM court,” advocate Udayshankar Chatterjee said.

The Barasat CJM had ordered the district police to start criminal proceedings against the persons named by Devi in an FIR lodged after her son’s death. Devi is the wife of Ajit Mondal, a constable posted in Lake Town police station.

According to her counsel, Rafiqul Islam, her son was murdered by the father and relatives of Joyeeta Basu, with whom Jagannath was having an affair.

“Devi’s son and Joyeeta were involved romantically, but Joyeeta’s parents were against the match. On March 3, 2007, Jagannath’s body was found near a rubber factory in Madhyamgram,” said Islam.

Islam had mentioned before the Barasat court that Devi had lodged eight complaints with Madhyamgram police stating that Joyeeta’s father Joydeb Basu and her two relatives — Bikash Mondal and Baban Mondal — had beaten Jagannath to death.

The post-mortem report confirmed that Jagannath was lynched, Islam added.

“Despite instructions from the CJM, police did not take any action, so my client moved the high court,” said Islam.

Before the Supreme Court ruling, the general conception was that only high court judges could file contempt notice or rules against the authorities concerned for not complying with a legal directive.

“The new ruling will help minimise pressure on the high court,” legal experts said.

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