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WB Post-Poll Violence: State Alleges NHRC Constituted Own Panel Despite Court-Appointed Committee, Calcutta HC Seeks Commission's Response

Aaratrika Bhaumik
17 May 2022 9:00 AM GMT
WB Post-Poll Violence: State Alleges NHRC Constituted Own Panel Despite Court-Appointed Committee, Calcutta HC Seeks Commissions Response
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The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday sought response from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the allegation levelled by the State government that contrary to the Court's earlier order for constitution of a 3 member committee to look into the complaints of displaced post-poll violence victims in West Bengal, the NHRC had constituted a team of 11 members.

The Court on the last date of hearing had constituted a three member committee to conduct an enquiry into the allegation that over 303 victims have been displaced due to the post-poll violence in West Bengal that had allegedly taken place post the declaration of the West Bengal assembly elections in May 2021.

The Court constituted a three member committee comprising of the following persons- (i) a member/ nominee of the National Human Rights Commission; (ii) a member/ nominee of State Human Rights Commission; and (iii) Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority.

Furthermore, the Court vide order dated August 19, 2021 had handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the investigation of cases related to murder, rape and crime against women whereas a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been constituted to investigate other criminal cases related to post-poll violence.

On Tuesday, Advocate General S.N Mookherjee appearing for the State government submitted before a Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajrashi Bharadwaj that although the Court vide order dated April 20, 2022, had formed a 3 member committee to enquire into the rights of displaced persons, however a communication received from the Under Secretary of the NHRC by the Chief Secretary of Government of West Bengal dated May 10, 2022, shows that a team of 11 members has been included by expanding the mandate of the committee constituted by the Court.

On the contrary, the counsel appearing for the NHRC submitted that the committee constituted pursuant to the Court's order comprises of 3 members as directed and that the team of 11 officers has been formed for carrying out ministerial work as a large number of complaints have been received so far by the committee.

The Court was further apprised that the Court constituted 3 member committee had itself taken such a decision to have a team of 11 officers to aid in the ministerial work as is evident from the minutes of the meeting held on May 11, 2022.

Pursuant to the rival submissions, the Court ordered the counsel appearing for the NHRC to file a reply to the application filed by the State government regarding the aforementioned allegations by tomorrow i.e. May 18.

The matter is slated to be heard next on May 18.

Case Title: Priyanka Tibrewal v. State of West Bengal and Ors

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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