Calcutta Hight Court stays order on pleas seeking impartial probe into post-poll violence
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday reserved order on a set of PILs seeking impartial probe into alleged post-poll violence in Bengal, following conclusion of arguments by all parties in the matter.
A seven-member enquiry committee set up by the NHRC chairman on a direction by a five-judge bench hearing the PILs has in its report recommended handing over the investigation in grievous crimes like rape and murder to the CBI, and that these cases should be tried outside the state.
The panel said other cases should be investigated by a court-monitored SIT (special investigation team) and that for adjudication, there should be fast-track courts, special public prosecutors and witness protection scheme.
Hearing in the matter concluded on Tuesday and the order was reserved by the bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.
Appearing for the Union of India, Additional Solicitor General Y J Dastoor submitted that it was ready to conduct a probe by any central investigating agency like the CBI as per the high court's order.
The PILs alleged that people were subjected to assault, made to flee homes, and destruction of property as a result of post-poll violence in Bengal, and an sought impartial probe along with protection of life and liberty.
Opposing the findings and recommendations of the NHRC committee report, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the state DGP, claimed it was erroneous and biased.
Stating that a few members of the panel had links with the BJP, he prayed it should be rejected by the court.
Denying alleged inaction by the police, Bengal Advocate General Kishore Dutta submitted that suo motu cases were registered by the police in several cases apart from those in complaints sent by the NHRC.
The committee had in its scathing remarks in the final report said, "This was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main opposition party."
Maintaining that the acts of violence resulted in disruption of life and livelihood of thousands of people and their economic strangulation, the report said, "The local police has been grossly derelict, if not complicit, in this violence."