State cannot proceed as it likes, it says
The Calcutta High Court has urged the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee to examine complaints of political violence in West Bengal.
A bench of five judges of the court directed that the committee “shall examine all the cases and may be by visiting the affected areas and submit a comprehensive report to this court about the present situation”. It asked the committee to suggest “steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood”.
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The court order issued on June 18 stated, “The persons prima facie responsible for crime and the officers who maintained calculated silence on the issue, be pointed out”.
In the 12-page order, the bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen, and Subrata Talukdar said the State had been denying allegations of political violence from the very beginning but the facts as had been placed on record were different.
Also read: Six deaths in post-poll violence in Bengal: BJP
“In our view, this exercise of filing of affidavit and counter-affidavit will continue. It may not lead us anywhere because State, from the very beginning, had been denying everything, but the facts as have been placed on record by the petitioners and also as is evident little bit from the report dated June 3, 2021, filed by the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, are different,” the order read.
The court observed that against some of the complaints compiled by the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority (WBSLSA), the remarks were that no response had been received from the authority concerned. The State could not be allowed to proceed in the manner it liked.
“In a case like where the allegation is that life and property of the residents of the State is in danger on account of alleged post poll violence, the State cannot be allowed to proceed in the manner it likes. The complaints required immediate action. But somehow from the facts as are available on record and are sought to be projected by the petitioners, such an action is missing. It is the duty of the State to maintain law and order in the State and inspire confidence in the residents of the State,” the order said.
‘Provide all support’
The WBSLSA member-secretary, as well as a member and representative of the State Human Rights Commission would be part of the NHRC committee. The court directed the State to provide all logistic support to the committee wherever and whenever they wished to visit any place. “The State shall ensure there is no obstruction of any kind in this process. Such obstruction shall be viewed seriously, which may entail action under the Contempt of Courts Act besides others,” the order read.
The court pointed out that the WBSLSA, in its report to the court, had mentioned that the number of persons who had reported suffering was 3,243 till 12 noon of June 10, 2021.
The matter will come up for hearing on June 30.
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