The government on Monday bowed to the voice of more than 52,000 lawyers across the state, demanding the arrest of Nadia District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum president Sanat Kumar Basu, 24 hours after his bodyguard shot at a prominent lawyer at Krishnagar court.
In a day of high drama that saw Basu being gheraoed by lawyers at the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Bhabani Bhavan, little work was possible in most of the courts. Lawyers stayed away from work, demanding a judicial probe into what led to Basu’s bodyguard shooting at Krishnagar Court Bar Association general secretary Debasis Ray on Sunday. Ray and some colleagues had reportedly intercepted Basu in the act of taking away some consumer forum documents from the court to the forum’s new address.
Lawyers are striking work on Tuesday, too, following simultaneous calls by the West Bengal Bar Council, the Consumers’ Lawyers’ Association and the Calcutta High Court Bar Association. “We would like the government to take immediate steps to ensure security for lawyers,” Bar Council chairman Amiya Chatterjee said. “A consumer forum president allegedly directing his bodyguard to shoot at a lawyer after being caught in the act of doing something on the court campus on a Sunday is unprecedented,” Consumer Lawyers’ Association president Prabir Kumar Basu agreed.
Advocate-general Balai Ray tagged as “absurd” the claim that the Nadia forum chief had asked his bodyguard to fire as he was attacked by firearms-bearing lawyers. And Chief Justice A.K. Mathur ordered the Nadia district judge to conduct a probe and submit a report at the earliest.
State consumer affairs department minister Naren De said he, too, had directed the Nadia district magistrate to conduct a probe. “But we are going to press for a full judicial probe into the incident,” asserted Alipore Court Bar Association spokesperson Dibyendu Biswas.
Nadia forum chief Basu came to Bhabani Bhavan on Monday to ask for “protection”. He was spotted by some lawyers, who called in colleagues from Alipore court, sparking off a gherao till the afternoon. The lawyers later accompanied Basu to Alipore police station, across the street, where they filed another FIR against him. He was then handed over, on the assurance that he would be sent to the Nadia police.