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Essential To Protect Witness Identity: Calcutta High Court Tells State In PIL Over 4 Rape Cases

Aaratrika Bhaumik
20 April 2022 10:45 AM GMT
Essential To Protect Witness Identity: Calcutta High Court Tells State In PIL Over 4 Rape Cases
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The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday took on record the status report filed by the State government pertaining to the investigation into each of the rape cases in Deganga, Matia, Ingrejbazar and Banshdroni in West Bengal. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj had earlier asked IPS officer Damayanti Sen to oversee the probe in the...

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday took on record the status report filed by the State government pertaining to the investigation into each of the rape cases in Deganga, Matia, Ingrejbazar and Banshdroni in West Bengal. 

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj had earlier asked IPS officer Damayanti Sen to oversee the probe in the rape cases. The Bench had observed that considering the nature of the incidents and the allegations made, a responsible senior lady police officer should be appointed to supervise the investigation.

Advocate General S.N Mookherjee on Wednesday informed the Bench that Sen has intimated that she has no difficulty in supervising the investigation into these cases.

IPS Damayanti Sen, now the special commissioner of Calcutta police, was the intelligence chief of the Calcutta police during the Park Street gang-rape case that took place a decade ago. She was the investigating officer of the incident.

On Wednesday, after perusal of the status report, the Bench noted that the investigation is being carried out under Sen's supervision, as per the earlier directions of the Court. 

The Court further instructed the Advocate General to supply a copy of the status report to the petitioner after redacting the names of the witnesses, family members and victims within a period of 2 days. The Court underscored that it is essential to protect the identity of the witnesses. The petitioner was further ordered to file a reply to the status report within a week thereafter. 

The State government was ordered to file a further status report on the next date of hearing which is slated to take place on May 2

It may be noted that the High Court on Wednesday reserved its order in a petition seeking the implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 in the Hanskhali gangrape and murder case wherein a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had been ordered into a week back.

Furthermore, the High Court on Tuesday had directed the State government to submit the case diary along with a status report pertaining to the investigation into another 5 recent rape cases that are reported in various districts of West Bengal this month. Incidents of rape have been reported to have taken place at Netra and Namkhana villages in South 24 Parganas district, at Pingla in West Midnapore district, at a village near Santiniketan in Birbhum district and at Mainaguri of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal in the last few weeks.

Case Title: Sumitra Bhattacharyya v. State of West Bengal and other connected matters

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