"State which is hand in glove should not be allowed to probe post-poll violence cases," victims plead before Calcutta High Court as it reserves order(s) in a clutch of petitions

  • Sanya Talwar
  • 03:02 PM, 03 Aug 2021

The Calcutta High Court has reserved order(s) in the cases concerning post poll violence unleashed in the State, allegedly at behest of the ruling dispensation.

Today, before a 5-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court, the State government of West Bengal made submissions. The state was represented by Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi as well as Kapil Sibal.

The State had made brief submissions yesterday whereby Sibal had argued that the NHRC Committee members are biased. He said that the NHRC 's committee had travelled way beyond its scope to recommend that the cases should be handed over the CBI, where in fact its only job was to collate data. 

"This was a fact-finding committee," Sibal said.
"Are you suggesting that the Committee which was formulated at behest of a Court order to the NHRC should not have done its job?," bench asked
"I am only saying, it should not have given out names," Sibal said.


Sibal had also argued that the Committee's procedures were to be governed by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1995 and that the absence of such procedural aspects was a gross violation of established legal tenets.

Today, Advocate J Sai Deepak appearing for petitioner(s) & refuted this argument, stating that the procedure which was actually applicable to the Committee was carved out in an order of the Court itself. "Nonetheless", he argued, "technicalities could not overpower dispensation of justice". 

Sibal had also informed Court that the Committee had members from the BJP in the committee, including Atif Rasheed who was eloquently a party supporter on his Twitter handle. This, he said, pointed to a likelihood of bias. 

Jethmalani had earlier argued that though the state was arguing on bias and refuted the designation of 3 members on the committee, there were in fact 7 members on board and that each member had their own team(s). On what grounds, he said could the entire Committee with many members, even from the state authorities, be questioned for their political affiliations?

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued for the DGP of police (WB) today as well. He said that there were many discrepancies in the complaints which were filed before NHRC, vehemently stating that they seemed "readymade" and "manufactured".

Singhvi added that many translations of complaints and statements were incorrect as well, alleging incompetency of the NHRC's Committee, urging that there were no deaths due to post poll violence as alleged. He further stated that the post poll violence was alleged and that it was impossible for the violence to continue for an indefinite period, and if it really did, how one could designate what would be designated as post poll violence and what could not be?

Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal refuted this submission of Singhvi today. She said that the fact that there was no reinstatement of those people who were ousted at behest of TMC goons from their villages till date only reiterated that the violence was post-poll and political.

Sai Deepak called the argument of Singvi, addressing the Court and stating that the argument that there were no deaths in the post-poll violence that was unleashed in the state was grossly insensitive. He further argued that the cases concerning post-poll violence point to connivance of the state's machinery and basis what he argued yesterday, stated that the petitioners had no faith in the state machinery whatsoever.

Advocate Bhattacharya stated that to allow same state machinery and police against whom allegations had been made for unleashing post poll violence and for being hand in glove with political atrocities to look into the cases of the victims was untenable. He argued that it was pertinent for the same to be handed over to an independent agency as this would lead to justice for the common man and hapless victims who had suffered at the hands of the ruling dispensation.

The ASG also made brief submissions before Court and said that if Court were to direct an independent agency to probe into the cases, the agencies would be more than willing to take the cases up.

With this, the Court reserved order(s) in the plea(s).

It is expected to decide on whether the cases concerning post poll violence should be handed over to an independent agency or the state machinery in West Bengal is competent to handle the cases.

Read Yesterday's arguments here: "1000's of complaints unregistered, systemic breakdown in state": Victims of post poll violence tell Calcutta High Court

Read an interview with a post-poll violence victim here: West Bengal post-poll violence: "Threatened, heckled by TMC goons for filing complaint with NCST": Tribal Resident from Kakragram claims