Monday, 30th October 2017

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Identify guilty cops: Panel

Former judge K.J. Sengupta recommended that the guilty cops be identified and taken off duty

By Our Legal Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 17.01.20, 3:03 AM
  • Updated 17.01.20, 3:03 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Howrah District Court Wikimedia Commons

A one-man judicial panel headed by a former Calcutta High Court judge has accused police of “committing civil wrong by causing damage and mental injuries” in its probe into alleged excesses during a stand-off between Howrah court lawyers and Howrah Municipal Corporation employees.

Former judge K.J. Sengupta recommended in his report that the guilty cops be identified and taken off duty till a departmental inquiry has been completed. The report was filed on Thursday.

Later in the day, Howrah court lawyers moved a petition alleging delay in action against those accused of attacking the lawyers and damaging court properties.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice T.B.N. Radhakrishnan was to hear the lawyers’ petition but he left the court when the case was to come up for hearing.

Members of the bar association of the Howrah court on Thursday threatened an agitation if the government failed to take action against the people who allegedly trespassed on the court premises on April 24, 2019, beat up some lawyers and damaged court properties.

Lawyers of the court and civic employees had on April 24 clashed for hours following a dispute over parking in the municipal compound. According to lawyers, the police did not rush to their rescue despite a number of complaints.

The lawyers alleged that a police team led by senior district officers entered the court complex and lathicharged them and damaged court properties later in the day.

The Howrah court lawyers have called a strike on Friday to demand immediate action against the accused cops.

In his report, the former judge said: “It appears from the evidence of the learned district judge and additional district judge that their judicial work after court hours was hampered (because of the police action). So, this can be termed interference with the administration of justice, which may call for action of criminal contempt.”

The report says: “All the superior officials have entered of their own authority and they have certainly committed civil wrong by causing damage and mental injuries to all... inside.... Undoubtedly, these police officials have committed… wrong....”

The judge observed, “it is for the government also to take suitable disciplinary measures against all those officials…. They should not be allowed for the time being to perform duty in any responsible office and ideally should be put on reserve till the disciplinary inquiry is completed and such disciplinary action must involve major penalty.”

On May 22, the division bench of Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice Arindam Mukherjee, following a petition by Howrah court lawyers, had set up a one-man judicial committee headed by the former judge. Since Justice Somadder was transferred to Allahabad High Court in the meantime, the report was placed before the Chief Justice on Thursday.