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CISF Firing In Sitalkuchi- 'Petitioners Reside 600 Km Away From Place Of Incident': Centre Challenges Maintainability Of Petitions Before Calcutta High Court

Aaratrika Bhaumik
17 Jan 2022 1:26 PM GMT
CISF Firing In Sitalkuchi- Petitioners Reside 600 Km Away From Place Of Incident: Centre Challenges Maintainability Of Petitions Before Calcutta High Court
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday sought response from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in a batch of petitions pertaining to the incident of alleged firing by CISF personnel on April 10, 2021, at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district during the West Bengal Assembly polls which claimed the lives of four persons.The petitions alleged that the incident was a result of police firing...

The Calcutta High Court on Monday sought response from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in a batch of petitions pertaining to the incident of alleged firing by CISF personnel on April 10, 2021, at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district during the West Bengal Assembly polls which claimed the lives of four persons.

The petitions alleged that the incident was a result of police firing in the course of electioneering. As a result, an independent probe into the matter had been sought. Consequently, the investigation had been transferred to West Bengal's Criminal Investigation Department (CID). 

On the previous date of hearing, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj had taken on record the interim status report filed by West Bengal's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the ongoing investigation. 

On Monday, senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya appearing for one of the petitioners sought the Court's leave to file an 'exhaustive exception' to the status report filed by the State government. Furthermore, advocate Sayen Chattopadhyay appearing for another petitioner submitted before the Bench that the status report filed by the State government does not disclose the steps that have been taken pertaining to the investigation of the alleged murder of deceased Anand Burman who had reportedly been shot by CISF personnel. 

On the other hand, advocate Nilotpal Chattopadhyay appearing for the State government contended that CISF personnel were not cooperating with the ongoing investigation. 

Pertinently, a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petitions was raised by Additional Solicitor General Y.J Dastoor who contended that the petitioners reside miles away from the place where the alleged incident took place and thus they have no way of being aware of the details of the alleged incident. He further highlighted that the petitioners reside 600 km away from the place where the alleged incident took place. 

Referring to the sworn affidavit of the petitioners, the ASG further remarked, "Not one statement will be true to their knowledge..you cannot affirm something true to knowledge when you don't have any knowledge"

Accordingly, the Court recorded in its order,

"Learned Additional Solicitor General has also raised a preliminary ground about maintainability of the petition by submitting that the petitioners are residing about 600 kilometers away from the place of incident and they have sworn in their affidavit on the basis of their personal knowledge which is incorrect. He is permitted to raise objection about maintainability in the affidavit-in-opposition, which may be filed before the next date of hearing."

Pursuant to the submissions, the Court directed the Additional Solicitor General to file an affidavit-in-opposition raising objection to the maintainability of the petitions before the next date of hearing.

The Court is slated to hear the matter next on February 28

About the incident 

As reported in the media, four villagers of Jor Patki village in Sitalkuchi were killed in the firing of the central forces in West Bengal and one person was killed by some unknown miscreants while coming out after casting vote.

The CISF personnel had opened fire after they allegedly came under attack from a group of villagers at 126/5 in Jorpatki in Sitalkuchi Assembly constituency where polling was underway for the fourth phase of West Bengal election 2021 on April 10. West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took over the case on April 16.

The Election Commission has already given a clean chit to the CISF for opening fire in Sitalkurchi Assembly constituency in Cooch Behar, saying that opening fire "became necessary to save the lives of the voters" and it was made in "self-defense".

Further, the Commission had also canceled the voting at the polling station after the incident and imposed a ban on the entry of politicians into Cooch Behar for 72 hours apprehending trouble.

Case Title: Aminuddin Khan v. Union of India and other connected matters

Click Here To Read/Download Order 



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