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BREAKING -'West Bengal Govt Conduct Doesn't Inspire Confidence' :Calcutta High Court Refuses To Recall Order Asking NHRC To Examine Post Poll Violence Complaints

Akshita Saxena
21 Jun 2021 6:52 AM GMT
BREAKING -West Bengal Govt Conduct Doesnt Inspire Confidence :Calcutta High Court Refuses To Recall Order Asking NHRC To Examine Post Poll Violence Complaints
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday refused to recall its June 18 order directing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee for examining complaints filed by persons displaced during post-poll violence in West Bengal. Delete BREAKING: #CalcuttaHighCourt refuses to recall or stay its order directing @India_NHRC to constitute a committee for examining complaints...

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The Calcutta High Court on Monday refused to recall its June 18 order directing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee for examining complaints filed by persons displaced during post-poll violence in West Bengal.

The 5-Judges Bench hearing the matter said that the order was passed after the State failed to inspire confidence of the Court and it does not find any occasion to recall/ modify or stay its operation.

The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Binal and Justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.

"There were allegations that Police is not taking action and that is why we had to involve NHRC. You have not put on record a single complaint received by you. Your conduct in this case does not inspire confidence of this Court," ACJ Bindal orally remarked.

It observed that the order is innocuous and does not prejudice the State in any manner.

"We have merely asked NHRC to file a report on present situation. Let them do it. What is the harm?" the Bench asked Advocate General Kishore Datta, appearing for the State.

It added that the West Bengal Government may place its submissions and also the actions taken by it before the Committee to be appointed by NHRC.

The State had moved the High Court stating that it was not served a copy of report filed by the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority regarding rehabilitation of displaced persons, which formed the basis of June 18 order.

Advocate General Kishore Datta claimed that in the absence of the report, he was unable to effectively argue his case. He therefore urged that the order be stayed so as to give more time to the State to demonstrate the steps being taken by them to ameliorate the situation.

"Such a serious case and you have failed to take instructions? No, we cannot allow this," the Bench remarked at the outset.

The Bench also expressed surprise that on one hand NHRC has received over 500 complaints and on the other, State claims that no complaints have been received by its State Human Rights Commission.

"How is it possible… This is lethargy on part of State," the Bench remarked.

It observed that the proceedings are in the nature of fact-finding and there is no need to recall the order.

Additional Solicitor General YJ Dastoor, appearing for the Union Government, also stated that the Court has asked merely asked NHRC to file a report and that does not affect State administration. "If this Court stays the order, it will amount to giving leverage to State," he said.

Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal, representing some of the complainants, alleged that the State is trying to give a bird's eye view while violence in West Bengal continues. She cited the Barrackpore constituency blast incident and violence against a woman, to demonstrate that normalcy has not returned.

However, AG Datta argued that the definition of post poll violence has to be confined and every other incident cannot be branded as post poll.

Background

Earlier, the High Court had constituted a committee comprising of members nominated by NHRC, SHRC & SLSA to coordinate rehabilitation of displaced persons of Entally constituency.

It had also directed the State Legal Services Authority to look into complaints of displaced persons who are being prevented from returning to their homes and take necessary steps for their rehabilitation.

On a perusal of the Authority's report, the Bench recorded that the facts reflected therein are quite different from what the State has been claiming. "State from the very beginning had been denying everything but the facts as have been placed on record by the petitioners and also as is evident little bit from the report dated June 3, 2021 filed by the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, are different."

Under these circumstances and keeping in view that the instances sought to be projected by the Petitioners allege violation of human rights, it directed the NHRC Chairman to constitute a committee to examine the complaints.
The Committee has been directed to examine all the cases and may be by visiting the affected areas and submit a comprehensive report to the Court about the present situation and also the steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood.


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