10 Dec 2022 4:13 PM GMT
Granting relief to the leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari, the Calcutta High Court recently stayed over 17 FIRs registered against him and restrained the state from registering fresh FIRs against him.The bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha ordered this while dealing with the writ petition filed by Adhikari aggrieved with the lodging of 17 FIRs against him at...
Granting relief to the leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari, the Calcutta High Court recently stayed over 17 FIRs registered against him and restrained the state from registering fresh FIRs against him.
The bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha ordered this while dealing with the writ petition filed by Adhikari aggrieved with the lodging of 17 FIRs against him at the instance of the ruling dispensation.
"...the fact that the writ petitioner is an elected representative of the people holding the post of Leader of the Opposition, the Court's mind is not free from doubt that the State police machinery, either on its own or under the influence of persons in the ruling dispensation, is out to completely stall the public life and personal liberty of the writ petitioner. There appears to be a calculated design to deprive the liberty of the petitioner," the Court observed
It was Adhikari's submission that a total of 26 FIRs have been registered against him by the State government in an attempt to prevent him from performing any functions as a people's representative and that most of the FIRs are in respect of small, flimsy acts alleged against the writ petitioner.
It was further submitted that some of the complaints based on which FIRs have been registered are "Fill in the Blanks" FIRs as the name of the complainants, age, and father's name have been left blank to be filled in at random and that such complaints have been handed out casually to persons owing allegiance to the ruling dispensation.
Significantly, it was also argued that by lodging of the successive FIRs, the state was trying to bypass the restraint order of the High Court (of September 6), wherein Adhikari had been granted protection against any coercive measures in existing or future cases without the HC's nod.
Taking into account the submissions of the counsel for Adhikari, the Court, at the outset, observed that it appeared that the FIRs registered against Adhikary post the September 6 order of the HC were an attempt to frustrate the protection order granted to the writ petitioner.
In its order, the Court noted that in similar cases registered against common people, either proceedings under Sections 107 and 116 of the Cr.P.C. were drawn up or the police merely conducted inquiries and warned such persons, however, the Court stressed, a completely different approach appears to have been adopted by the State police in so far as the writ petitioner is concerned.
In these circumstances, the Court ordered that each and everyone FIRs referred to in the writ petition shall remain stayed, and also, the State police would not register any more FIRs against the petitioner, without the leave of the High Court. Lastly, the Court granted 4 weeks for filing of the affidavit-in-opposition.
Case Title - Suvendu Adhikari vs. State of West Bengal and Ors.
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