The Supreme Court vacation bench headed by Justice MR Shah issued notice in a writ petition filed by a BJP leader seeking protection from arrest, taking note of the ongoing lawyers' strike in West Bengal. Interestingly, another bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Justice Surya Kant did not entertain a writ petition filed by former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar who had sought protection from arrest.
The writ petition filed by BJP leader Praveen Agrawal in the Supreme Court on the ground that he could not approach either the trial court or the Calcutta High Court due to ongoing lawyers' strike, came before the bench headed by Justice MR Shah, also comprising of two new judges who swore in today, Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Ajjikuttira Somaiah Bopanna. The bench observed:
"It is very unfortunate that the strike is going on in all the courts in the State of West Bengal and due to which, ultimate sufferers are the litigants. By such a strike, the entire judicial function cannot be made paralyzed and the litigants cannot be allowed to be suffered. Therefore, as such, a day has come to stop such illegal strike. We hope and trust that wiser counsel will prevail. The Bar Council/concerned Bar Associations may look into the matter with all seriousness."
Issuing notice in the writ petition, the bench also directed the petitioner to appear before the concerned Investigating Officer pursuant to notice under section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure issued to him by the concerned Police Station, within a period of one week from today and to cooperate with the investigation.The court also granted him protection from arrest till the 'next date of hearing' ( mostly in July).
Another SC Bench Asked Rajeev Kumar IPS To Approach WB Court 'In Person'
Interestingly, another bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Justice Surya Kant did not entertain a writ petition filed by former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar who had sought protection from arrest. The bench said that he is free to approach the concerned Court, as the Courts in the State of West Bengal are functioning.
"There are no vacations there. Both the district and the High Court are functioning, only the advocates are on strike", the bench orally remarked.
Kumar had approached the Supreme Court directly saying that no legal remedies are available to him in West Bengal due to the strike announced by lawyers there since April 25
He was also asked to 'appear in person' and seek the remedy before the concerned Court. The order reads thus:
"A petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India cannot be said to be maintainable as the petitioner has also filed an application for extension of time before this Court. A bench of Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sanjiv Khanna, on 17.05.2019, has passed an order, which is at page Nos.155-162 of this petition. In view of the aforesaid, a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India should not have been filed. Be that as it may, since it is open to the petitioner to approach the concerned Court, as the Courts in the State of West Bengal are functioning, appear in person and seek the remedy before the concerned Court. With the liberty to seek remedy to approach the concerned Court in the State of West Bengal, this writ petition is disposed of."
Click here to Download Order