Calcutta High Court: A single bench comprising of Jay Sengupta,* J., directed the State of West Bengal to comply with the previous orders passed by the Division Bench of this Court and affirmed by the Supreme Court, and to hand over all the investigation files related to the cases as requested by the petitioners to the National Investigation Agency by the specified date and time.
The instant matter, the petitioners preferred an application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for a direction upon the respondent authorities to comply with the provisions of Sections 6(6) and 9 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 (NIA Act) and immediately handover of all investigation files related to the violence that erupted after the Ram Navami celebrations of 2023 to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
After the violence following the Ram Navami celebrations of 2023, various petitions were filed requesting the NIA to investigate the cases related to the incidents. The Division bench of this Court, vide order dated 27-03-2023, directed the concerned police authorities to hand over all the FIRs, documents, materials seized, CCTV footage, etc., to the NIA for investigation within two weeks from that date. Despite requests, the directions were not complied with by the State, and the State moved Special Leave Petitions before the Supreme Court, where vide order dated 24-07-2023, the SLPs were disposed upholding the Division bench’s order.
The petitioners contended that the State deliberately did not comply with the Court’s directions despite multiple orders and petitions. The petitioner further contended that the State had filed a writ petition challenging the vires of the NIA Act and certain orders passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which, according to the State, should be heard together, however, the State did not raise this issue before the Division Bench or during the hearing of the Special Leave Petitions in the Supreme Court.
In the light of the submissions of the parties and the orders passed by the Division Bench and the Supreme Court, the Court held that the State’s plea to challenge the vires of the NIA Act could be considered separately but should not hinder compliance with the Court’s previous orders.
The Court held that the directions of the Division bench were to be complied with immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict by the Supreme Court and any further delay in compliance would be considered contemptuous.
The Court directed the State to hand over all investigation files mentioned in prayer ‘C’ of the writ petition to the NIA positively by 01-08-2023 at 12:00 PM.
[National Investigation Agency v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 2209, order dated 31-07-2023]
*Judgment by Justice Jay Sengupta
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. S.V. Raju, Ld. ASG, Mr. Ashok Kumar Chakraborti, Ld. ASG, Mr. Billwadal Bhattacharyya, Ld. DSG, Mr. Bhaskar Prasad Banerjee, Mr. Samrat Goswami and Mr. Debasish Tendon, Counsel for the Petitioners
Mr. Amitesh Banerjee, Ld. Sr. St. Counsel, Ms. Ipsita Banerjee and Mr. Suddhadeb Adak, Counsel for the Respondent/State