Calcutta, July 9: Calcutta High Court today witnessed a telling interaction between a judge and a state government pleader when a petition seeking suo motu police action against Trinamul MP Tapas Paul for his “rape-and-shoot” speech came up.
On behalf of a Nadia resident, advocate Subrata Mukhopadhyay took up the matter before the court of Justice Dipankar Dutta, the judge who had recused himself from the Sagar Ghosh murder case in which also the government was represented by the same pleader.
In the Paul case today, the state was represented by Ashok Banerjee, the government pleader who deals with civil matters in the high court unlike the public prosecutor who looks after criminal cases.
Justice Dutta to Banerjee: “Don’t mind. I am not making any comment on this particular case at this moment. I just want to discuss the issue with you. Yesterday, I was viewing TV. I saw how a group of MPs were making unparliamentary comments on the Prime Minister while others were making the same comments on a chief minister. What is going on? What are the common people learning?”
Banerjee: “Really, this is very unfortunate. I had visited the Norway parliament and there I saw how cordial relations between the ruling party and Opposition MPs are.”
Justice Dutta: “The present case is not a stray incident. These types of unparliamentary comments are often being made by politicians and political leaders throughout the country now. Will everyone, including the administration, remain inactive? Is there no law to take action against the people who are making such comments?”
Banerjee: “I have heard that during the reign of Sher Shah, the hands of offenders were cut off.”
Justice Dutta: “At that time, there was no law. But now there is law…. Is there no law to take action against the MPs who are making irresponsible statements about the Opposition?”
Banerjee: “The common people will take the right action against them at the right time.”
Justice Dutta: “The common people are bound by law.”
Justice Dutta: “Let me come to the point. The petitioner has claimed that the police have the right to initiate a suo motu criminal case against the MP after viewing TV footage, media reports and statements of all sections of people on the issue. Please let me know on July 17 your government’s view on this contention of the petitioner.”