The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the State Government of West Bengal to submit their replies in a plea alleging mismanagement of the COVID-19 situation in the state.
"Since the Ministry of Home Affairs offers to file a report in response to the averments made in the writ petition, let such report be filed on or before the next date of hearing.
The State Government shall also file a report in response to the averments made in the writ petition," the order passed by a bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee reads.
However, the bench refused to issue specific directions to send a Central Team to the state in order to inspect the ground reality.
The MHA had submitted that a team from the Ministry was prepared to visit West Bengal, inspect the situation and file a report before the Court.
However, after recording resistance on part of the Advocate General appearing for the State, the bench said,
"We clarify that if any team from the Ministry of Home Affairs visits this State, the same shall be on its own volition and not pursuant to any order of this Court."
The Advocate General had resisted the idea of deploying a Central Team while emphasizing that earlier, "an inter-ministerial team" of the Central Government had visited the State and had spent several weeks inspecting various areas.
"Sufficient materials were gathered by that team. Hence, no further visit by any Central Team is necessary. Any further visit by a Central Team would, in effect, be a roving enquiry only to find fault with the State Administration, if possible," the West Bengal Government had argued.
Case Title: Kabir Shankar Bose v. State of West Bengal & Ors.
Case No.: WP No. 5413/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee
Appearance: Senior Advocate Dhiraj Trivedi and Advocate Brajesh Jha (for Petitioner); Senior Advocate YJ Dastoor and Advocates Vipul Kundalia and Rajeshree Kundalia (for Union of India); Advocate General Kishore Dutta and Advocate Sayan Sinha (for State)
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