Calcutta High Court Weekly Round-Up: September 18 To September 24, 2023

Srinjoy Das

24 Sep 2023 12:31 PM GMT

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  • Calcutta High Court Weekly Round-Up: September 18 To September 24, 2023

    Citations: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 284 To 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 292NOMINAL INDEXAmit Polley Vs. The State of West Bengal & Anr. 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 284Ashis Khamrai v State of West Bengal and others 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 285Amna Parveen Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors. 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 286Kishore Kumar Singh Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 287State of West Bengal...

    Citations: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 284 To 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 292


    Amit Polley Vs. The State of West Bengal & Anr. 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 284

    Ashis Khamrai v State of West Bengal and others 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 285

    Amna Parveen Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors. 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 286

    Kishore Kumar Singh Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 287

    State of West Bengal and others Vs. Kalpana Das Sarkar and others 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 288

    Mrs. Polin Mukherjee V Union Of India & Ors. 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 289

    Surendra Prasad v The Union of India & Ors. 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 290

    Partha Ghosh -Versus- The State Of West Bengal And Others 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 291

    Abhishek Banerjee v ED 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 292

    Calcutta HC Denies Relief To Man Accused Of Abetting Minor Girl’s Suicide, Says Quashing Such Case Would Cause Miscarriage Of Justice

    Case: Amit Polley Vs. The State of West Bengal & Anr.

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 284

    The Calcutta High Court has refused to quash criminal proceedings initiated against a man accused of abetting the suicide of a minor girl whom he was “in love” with, by allegedly inflicting physical and mental torture upon her, as well as demanding money from her.

    Accused is booked under Section 306 IPC. Single-bench of Justice Shampa (Dutt) Paul directed the Trial Court to be mindful of Section 305 IPC (Abetment of suicide of child or insane person) during framing of charges. It observed,

    In the present case, it is prima facie on record that the victim was a minor on the date of incident (alleged suicide). Thus the offence alleged prima facie has the ingredients required under Section 305 IPC, on record. Accordingly, the learned Trial Judge shall consider the said materials on record at the time of consideration and framing of charge or at the relevant stage, in accordance with law. The present case has to thus proceed towards trial to be decided in accordance with law as there is prima facie materials in this case against the petitioners to go to trial and quashing a case of such a nature will cause miscarriage of justice.

    Calcutta High Court Issues Guidelines For ‘Rally’ By About 600 Govt Job Aspirants Who Were Denied Group-D Appointments

    Case: Ashis Khamrai v State of West Bengal and others

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 285

    The Calcutta High Court has allowed a ‘rally’ to be organised by job aspirants on 27th September, who were denied appointments as Group-D employees under the Government of West Bengal, despite having requisite qualifications.

    A single bench of Justice Jay Sengupta, while allowing the plea, directed the petitioners to hold such a procession, along the designated route, until 5pm, and in accordance with law.

    "It is clarified that the entire programme should come to an end at 5 pm."

    State government was directed to make necessary police arrangements for security of the demonstrators and passers-by

    TET Candidate Misspells ‘Durga’ In Court, Calcutta High Court Finds Her To Be Unfit To Be A Teacher, Dismisses Her Plea

    Case: Amna Parveen Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors.

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 286

    The Calcutta High Court has recently dismissed a challenge against the Teachers Entrance Test (“TET”) 2014, by a candidate who claimed that she was not selected after the interview, even after allegedly scoring high marks.

    In dismissing the petitioner’s plea after perusing video footage of her interview, bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay observed:

    With such sense of spelling a person cannot be allowed to be a primary teacher. I have asked one spelling namely, ‘Durga’ [in Bengali] which also she spelt wrongly. Therefore, I think that the performance on that particular day of the petitioner was not up to the mark and we need not spend further time to see the video of the interview. I accept the result i.e. the marks given by the experts in the interview and communicated to this court as correct assessment and, therefore, the writ application is dismissed.

    Calcutta High Court Denies Relief To Bank Manager Accused Of ‘Threatening’ Employee Who Complained Of Illegal Termination

    Case: Kishore Kumar Singh Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 287

    The Calcutta High Court has refused to quash criminal proceedings against a Branch Manager of Standard Chartered bank who had been accused u/s 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (outraging modesty of a woman) of the IPC for allegedly threatening an employee who had approached the Labour forum against illegal termination of service.

    Complainant submitted that the petitioner had threatened her to withdraw her case before the labour forum by allegedly “giving wrong signs” and stating that “Standard Chartered Bank, a big institution can purchase judgement”

    In denying the petitioner any relief, a single-bench of Justice Bibhas Ranjan De held:

    I am unable to come to a conclusion that the written complaint is so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach to a conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceedings against the accused/petitioner.

    Citing ‘Lackadaisical Attitude’ Of West Bengal CID, High Court Upholds Transfer Of Money Laundering Probe Against Co-op Society To CBI, ED

    Case: The State of West Bengal and others Vs. Kalpana Das Sarkar and others

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 288

    The Calcutta High Court has recently upheld the order of a single-judge which transferred to the CBI, an ongoing probe into allegations of money laundering by the functionaries Alipurduar Mohila Samabay Rindan Samity Limited, a cooperative society.

    A single-judge had earlier ordered the State’s CID which had been investigating the matter, to transfer the same to the CBI & ED (Eastern Zone), due to lack of progress in the investigation, and had subsequently dismissed a ‘frivolous’ recall application taken out by the CID by imposing costs of Rs 5 lakhs upon the CID.

    In dismissing the appeal arising out of the single-bench’s orders, while setting aside the payment of costs, and expunging “aspersions” cast on the CID by the single-judge, a division-bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and Justice Uday Kumar held:

    On merits, no fault could be found with the order dated September 15, 2023 inasmuch as the recall application of the CID was rejected.

    Calcutta High Court Directs Post Master General To Release MIS Dues Pending For Almost 15 Yrs

    Case: Mrs. Polin Mukherjee V Union Of India & Ors.

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 289

    The Calcutta High Court has directed the Chief Postmaster General to release sum of Rs 50,000 including a bonus of Rs 5,000 along with interest of 6% p.a. from the date of maturity of the petitioner’s Monthly-Investment-Scheme (“MIS”) account at the Bhadrakali Post Office.

    A single-bench of Justice Shekhar B Saraf held:

    The petitioner states she is being deprived of her savings due to the arbitrary and negligent actions of the respondents. [Respondents] contend there was a procedural lapse on behalf of the concerned Postal Assistant, and he was punished accordingly. It is established that the respondents were aware of the gravity of such acts from a reading of SB Order No. 3/2008 dated February 19, 2008. Thus, the respondent cannot argue that the action of the concerned Postal Assistant was a mere procedural lapse. As observed in Sulekha Chatterjee v. Union of India and Others (2023), the Post Office serves as a guardian of savings and operates on the trust of the citizens of this country that has been built over decades. However, such acts tarnish this trust and utmost effort must be made to redress the wrong done.

    ‘Gratuity Not A Charity’: Calcutta HC Directs FCI To Pay Employee’s Gratuity, Says It Can Only Be Stopped If Employment Terminated.

    Case: Surendra Prasad v The Union of India & Ors.

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 290

    The Calcutta High Court has directed the Food Corporation of India (“FCI”) to pay the petitioner’s gratuity along with 8% interest, within four weeks in a challenge against withholding of his gratuity due to ongoing criminal investigations under allegations of ‘moral turpitude.’

    In setting aside the order of the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, a single-bench of Justice Shekhar B Saraf held:

    The Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner decided upon the issue…depending on the possibility that the petitioner could be found guilty in the pending CBI proceedings. The petitioner has been acquitted of all charges in a criminal case and rest of the CBI cases are pending. Therefore, so long as the aforementioned [cases] are pending, the employer cannot forfeit the payment of gratuity to the petitioner. The Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner did not factor in, this seemingly trivial issue, but the petitioner was never dismissed nor terminated from service [even] the penalty order does not terminate, nor does it dismiss the petitioner from service.

    Unnecessary Litigation At Cost To Public Exchequer Should Be Avoided: Calcutta High Court Criticises Aided Rabindra Bharati University

    Case: Partha Ghosh -Versus- The State Of West Bengal And Others

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 291

    In a scathing verdict on the state-aided Rabindra Bharati University, the Calcutta High Court has expressed dismay and distress over the University’s insistence on engaging in ‘unnecessary’ litigation even though a Division-bench had warned them against doing so.

    A single-bench of Justice Kaushik Chanda observed:

    This Court is surprised that a State-aided university, at the cost of public exchequer, has engaged in extravagant litigations seemingly without a productive purpose. Despite being cautioned by the Division Bench of this Court, the learned advocate representing the university seems to have refused to internalise the lessons. The learned advocate for the university was allowed to place his case for nearly a full day. His submission has been followed by a 38 (thirty-eight) page written notes of argument…this Court is surprised that a learned advocate of this Court, despite being cautioned by the Division Bench refuses to learn any lesson and fails to discharge his obligation to assist the Court in arriving at a right decision.

    Cash-For-Jobs Scam: Calcutta High Court Refuses To Quash ECIR Against TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, But Orders ED To Not Take Coercive Steps

    Case: Abhishek Banerjee v ED

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 292

    The Calcutta High Court has directed the Enforcement Directorate (“ED”) to not initiate any coercive action against TMC leader and MP Abhishek Banerjee pursuant to ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report)II/19/2022 filed by the ED, accusing him in the ‘Teacher-recruitment scam.’

    However, it refused to the quash the ECIR itself. A single-judge bench of Justice Tirthankar Ghosh directed the ED not to take any coercive action against Banerjee, except under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (“PMLA”) as had been elaborated by the Apex Court in V. Senthil Balaji’s case.

    As such, except the statement of Sujay Krishna Bhadra (an accused who is in custody) no materials were produced by E.D. before this Court to relate the petitioner with the ECIR under challenge. Having regard to the same I direct that no coercive measures would be taken against the petitioner by the E.D. without adhering to Section 19 of the PMLA, 2002. So far as the prayer for quashing of ECIR/KLZO-II/19/2022, I am of the view that the stage at which the petitioner approached this Court was premature compared to the present stage of investigation and as such the same cannot be interfered with, it was held.


    Calcutta High Court Directs Police Commissioner To Monitor Probe Into Student's Death After Falling From School Building

    Case: Sk. Pappu vs State of West Bengal and others

    Case No: WPA 22664 of 2023

    The Calcutta High Court has directed the city’s Commissioner of Police, Vineet Goyal to monitor an ongoing probe into the death of a 16-year-old, class 10 student who died after falling from the fifth-floor balcony of his school on September 3rd.

    The deceased’s father had lodged a murder case against the principal, vice-principal and two teachers of the Silver Point High School.

    Stating that it was imperative for the cause of death to be identified, a single-bench of Justice Jay Sengupta ordered:

    the investigating officer would seize the CCTV device by which the relevant video footage was captured…and obtain an opinion from a team of medical experts of the SSKM Hospital to be set up by the authorities about the nature of injuries and the cause of death. Let the report be filed on the next date in a sealed cover. The investigation be carried on under the direct supervision of the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata.

    'Lawyers Are Not For Sale': Special Officer In Calcutta HC Claims He Was Offered Bribe By School Being Probed For Misrepresenting Affiliation

    Case: Swarup Poddar And Ors Vs Council For The Indian School Certificate Examination And Ors

    Case No: WPA 22094/2023

    The Calcutta High Court continued hearing a plea by parents of students scheduled to appear for their ICSE board exams in 2024, complaining of non-registration of their wards with the Council due to lapses by St Augustine’s Day School’s authorities.

    On an earlier occasion, a single-bench of Justice Biswajit Basu had appointed DSG Billwadal Bhattacharya as a Special Officer in the matter, and requested him to visit the school to peruse their records and ascertain the total number of bona fide students who were to write their board exams in 2024 in order to facilitate the process.

    However, the hearing took a turn when the Special Officer submitted that someone from the school’s authorities had attempted to influence him before his visit to the school.

    “I cannot deny that there were attempts to influence the special officer also…from the school. Forgetting the fact that lawyers are not up for sale…so I have taken a screenshot of the phone number and call details…that’s why when I went to the school, I did not accept even a drop of water,” it was submitted.

    Upon hearing these submissions, the Court noted that these actions showed that the school authorities had something to hide, and that appropriate criminal action would be taken against those persons who attempted to influence an officer of the Court.

    Probing Money-Trail Linking Bengali Film Industry To ‘Cash-For-Jobs’ Scam: Enforcement Directorate Tells Calcutta High Court

    Case: Soumen Nandy v. The State of West Bengal & Ors. and connected applications

    Case No: WPA 9979 of 2022

    The Enforcement Directorate informed the Calcutta High Court that it has begun probing the alleged links between the Bengali film industry and the teacher and municipal recruitment cash-for-jobs scam allegedly involving various high-ranking state functionaries.

    DSG Dhiraj Trivedi appearing for the ED submitted that one person from the industry has been linked with a money-trail to proceeds of the scam and that such person had said he would refund back the sum.

    Only one person you could get from the film industry? Cannot be that in the entire film industry, only one person is involved. Had that been so, your earlier report speaks of something else,” Justice Amrita Sinha orally remarked on hearing ED's submissions.

    Calcutta HC Stays Order For Formation Of “High-Level Enquiry Committee” To Probe Collusion Among Railway Officials In Obtaining Arbitral Award

    Case: Rashmi Metaliks Limited v Union of India & Anr.

    Case No: APOT/308/2023 with AP/482/2021

    The Calcutta High Court has partially stayed an order of a single-bench which directed the formation of a “multi-member high level enquiry committee” to look into and furnish a report on alleged collusion between railway officials in obtaining an arbitral award in favour of the South-Eastern Railways.

    A division-bench of Justice IP Mukherji and Justice Biswaroop Chowdhury held that while points on maintainability of the appeal may remain open to be disputed, the operative portion of the single-judge’s order directing for an enquiry committee to furnish a report within three months, shall remain stayed. It held:

    There is no doubt that a High Court enjoys unlimited power to do justice between the parties. This power includes in appropriate cases directing an enquiry or investigation into alleged fraudulent or wrongful acts by a specialised investigating agency. In a Section 36 application, unilaterally this kind of an order, without even a chance to the concerned persons to explain themselves, appears to be prima facie without jurisdiction.

    Calcutta High Court Stops Kudmi Samaj's 'Rail & Road Roko' Protest For ST Status, Says Public Can’t Be ‘Held Ransom’

    Case: Purulia Chamber Of Trade And Industry Vs State Of West Bengal And Ors.

    Case No: WPA(P)/503/2023

    The Calcutta High Court has ruled against the ‘Adibasi Kudmi Samaj’s’ decision to hold an indefinite sit-in protest on railway tracks from 20th September, in an attempt to disrupt road and rail traffic for bringing attention to their grievances of not being included in the list of scheduled tribes published by the State government.

    Notably, a PIL on the issue was earlier rejected by a coordinate bench of the Court, which directed the ‘Samaj’ to pursue their reliefs before the appropriate authorities. Protesters had staged two previous demonstrations in 2022, and earlier this year over the very same cause.

    In allowing the present plea by the Purulia Chamber for Trade and Industry by directing for the impending strike to be called-off, a division-bench comprising Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya held:

    “The members of the samaj have no vested right in blocking the roadways and railways causing inconvenience to several citizens, not only in WB but also three neighbouring states. They cannot be permitted to hold the innocent citizens at ransom by calling for indefinite protest.”

    Calcutta High Court Seeks Report On Alleged Police Inaction In Case Over Rape Of 10-Yr-Old Visually-Impaired Child At Children’s Home

    Case: Rama Prasad Sarkar Vs State Of West Bengal And Ors

    Case No: WPA(P)/504/2023

    The Calcutta High Court has directed the State to file a status report in a plea concerning the rape of a ten year-old visually-impaired girl at a blind-school and children’s home in Haridevpur, on the 8th of September.

    Advocate-petitioner appearing in person, submitted that in spite of serious allegations being made against the alleged perpetrators, the local police had failed to initiate any steps, and prayed for the probe to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (“CBI”).

    “Ten years girl was raped…police have not taken action in accordance with law…this is a democracy? Blind school…I want the CBI. No persons have been arrested. He [alleged perpetrator] has money, I don’t have money lordship…everything is possible with money nowadays…nothing has happened yet. Kindly look into it” it was submitted.

    State Counsel submitted that a status report had been prepared, sufficient steps had been taken, and persons had been arrested.

    West Bengal CID Playing With Court: High Court Dismisses 'Frivolous' Recall Application, Imposes 5 Lakh Cost For Not Transferring Probe To CBI, ED

    Case: Kalpana Das Sarkar & Ors. Vs The State of W. B. & Ors.

    Case No: WPA 2103 of 2022

    The Calcutta High Court has imposed a fine on the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (“CID”) to the tune of Rs 5 lakh for failing to comply with the Court’s earlier orders for transferring probe pertaining to money laundering in a co-operative society to the Central Bureau of Investigation (“CBI”) & Enforcement Directorate (“ED”).

    In hearing a recall application by the CID, a single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay refused to recall its earlier orders directing for transfer of the probe and held that the plea filed by the CID was not only absolutely frivolous, but that it was tantamounting to “playing” with the Court order. It remarked,

    CID has filed the recalling application. I do not know why. This shows that none of the papers and documents relating to investigation by CID has been handed over to CBI and ED. CID is playing with the court. The application has been affirmed by one officer of CID. Why CID is so much interested is not handing over the investigation to CBI and ED? Is CID apprehensive of something that will come to light which was guarded by CID from public gaze? CID has no business in filing such an application.

    Calcutta High Court Orders Liberian Ship To Pay ₹88 Crore For Allegedly Damaging Haldia Oil Jetty Or Face Arrest

    Case: Hindustan Aegis LPG Limited V The Owners And Parties Interested In The Vessel Mt Tsm Pollux (Imo No. 9266889)

    Case No: AS 5 of 2023

    The Calcutta High Court under its Admiralty jurisdiction, recently ordered the ‘arrest’ of ‘MT TSM Pollux’ a crude oil tanker bearing the Liberian flag (“offending vessel”) for allegedly damaging the twin marine loading unloading arms installed at Haldia Oil Jetty No.1 by its crane while leaving the Haldia docks.

    Court directed for the arrest order to be vacated in the event that the ‘offending ship’ deposits a security amount of approx. Rs 88 crores with the Registrar (Original Side) in lieu of the prima facie damage which had been caused.

    In adjudicating an ex parte urgent maritime claim made by the plaintiffs under Section 4 (1) (d) of the Admiralty (Jurisdictional and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017, a single bench of Justice Arindam Mukherjee observed:

    The plaintiff has been able to make out a strong prima facie case to go to trial. The Marshall of this Court is directed to forthwith arrest the said vessel along with tackle, hull, engine, equipment, apparels, furniture and all movable lying on board. In the event the defendant deposits an aggregate amount of USD 506,161 and Rs. 84,00,67,559/- in the suit as security, this order of arrest of shall stand automatically vacated.

    Calcutta High Court Agrees To Hear Plea Over Hike In Grant To Durga Puja ‘Clubs’ By West Bengal Govt

    The Calcutta High Court has agreed to hear a plea questioning the West Bengal government's decision to hike the grant offered to Durga puja clubs in the State.

    Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 22nd August had announced that the State government would make available a fund of up to Rs 70,000 each to organisers of the various ‘clubs’ hosting Durga puja in various localities all over the State. The largesse was limited to 60,000 per club last year. A plea seeking proper regulation/ audit of the same is already pending before the High Court.

    Petitioner’s advocate submitted that while the earlier writ petition is pending, the fresh application challenges enhanced allocation of funds for the 2023 Durga Puja. He prayed for an urgent listing of the matter, apprehending that the State would distribute the funds in the interim. Durga Puja is slated to be held between 20th-24th October in West Bengal.

    One short consideration milord…they will distribute the funds…kindly list this matter urgently,” it was submitted.

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