Tough to give Bimal Gurung arrest shield: Supreme Court

The cases pertain to the violent statehood agitation in 2017 by the Morcha, then headed by Gurung

By Our Legal Correspondent in New Delhi
  • Published 15.03.19, 2:19 AM
  • Updated 15.03.19, 2:19 AM
  • a min read
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The Supreme Court asked the Bengal government to file a response on a plea by the Morcha leaders that they would not be arrested if they went to the state to campaign in the general election. (Shutterstock)

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would be difficult to grant Bimal Gurung and several other leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha interim protection from arrest in a plethora of criminal cases they faced in Bengal.

The cases pertain to the violent statehood agitation in 2017 by the Morcha, then headed by Gurung.

The court asked the Bengal government to file a response on a plea by the Morcha leaders that they would not be arrested if they went to the state to campaign in the general election.

“How do we take over the cases from the magistrate? How do we grant you interim protection? You are facing so many cases…” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha told senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gurung.

Rohatgi had said Gurung and the others faced 75-odd cases, because of which they were unable to campaign in the state. The bench said that since the cases were pending before various trial courts, it may not be possible for the top court to stay the proceedings at this stage.

The bench then asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Bengal government, whether the state was willing to give some sort of assurance “that no coercive measure” would be taken against the petitioners.

Sibal opposed the plea.