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West Bengal Post Poll Violence: Calcutta High Court Grants State Time Till July 31 To File Supplementary Affidavit To NHRC Report

Aaratrika Bhaumik
28 July 2021 7:35 AM GMT
West Bengal Post Poll Violence: Calcutta High Court Grants State Time Till July 31 To File Supplementary Affidavit To NHRC Report
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The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted time to the West Bengal government to submit its supplementary affidavit in response to report of the Committee of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by July 31. The Court made it clear during the hearing on Wednesday that no further extension of time shall be given. The matter is slated to be heard next on August 2. The 5 judge...

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The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted time to the West Bengal government to submit its supplementary affidavit in response to report of the Committee of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by July 31. The Court made it clear during the hearing on Wednesday that no further extension of time shall be given. The matter is slated to be heard next on August 2

The 5 judge Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices I.P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar also took on record the DNA report of the deceased BJP worker Abjijit Sarkar filed through Additional Solicitor General Y.J Dastoor. A certificate under Section 65B of the Evidence Act was also submitted along with the video recording of the autopsy procedure of deceased Abjijit Sarkar. 

During the hearing on Wednesday Advocate General Kishore Datta apprised the Court that on July 26, the State had received a document from the NHRC of 951 pages containing additional complaints of victim. Hence the State government sought the leave of the Court to file a supplementary affidavit in this regard. The Advocate General on Wednesday also pleaded the Court to adjourn the matter to a later date. 

Taking strong objections to the request for adjournment, Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal appearing for one of the petitioners submitted before the Court that delay in hearing the matter would prejudice the interests of victims. 

"The victims will end up withdrawing their complaints if the matter is further delayed. There is also continuance of violence in West Bengal", Tebriwal submitted. She also reiterated the urgent need to constitute an independent SIT (Special Investigation Team) to probe the allegations. 

Echoing the objections raised by Advocate Tebriwal, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani appearing for another petitioner contended, "Your Lorships know that extension of time leads to disappearance of evidence. The police is complicit in this matter". Further the senior counsel submitted that the State government had already filed a comprehensive reply to the NHRC report and that reasonable cause must be shown for seeking time to file a supplementary affidavit. 

On hearing from Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal that victims are being constantly threatened to withdraw their complaints, the Bench questioned the counsel, 

"Has an FIR been lodged complaining that the police authorities are threatening the victims? Is something on record?"

In response, Advocate Tibrewal submitted that no FIR in this regard has been filed yet. Accordingly, the Bench noted that objections to adjournment cannot be entertained unless urgency is shown by filing the requisite FIR. 

The Bench also took on record the affidavit filed in response to the NHRC report by the State through Additional Chief Secretary of Human Affairs Department Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika. Copies of the same had been supplied to all opposing counsels. Advocate General Kishore Datta on Wednesday also submitted for the Court's perusal a pendrive containing the utterances of some members of the NHRC committee in public along with Section 164 CrPC statements. 

Furthermore, Advocate Subir Sanyal appearing for the NHRC sought leave from the Court to file a supplementary report containing additional complaints that the NHRC had received. The complaints had been forwarded to the DGP West Bengal, the counsel submitted. 

Accordingly the hearing was adjourned to August 2 for further arguments on behalf of the NHRC. 

Case Title: Susmita Saha Dutta v. Union of India






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