Calcutta High Court

Calcutta High Court: A petition was filed being aggrieved that immediately after the Lok Sabha General Election, 2024, the petitioners have been subjected to post-poll violence because of their association with a specific political party. A division bench of Apurba Sinha Ray and Kaushik Chanda, JJ., issued measures aimed to address the immediate concerns of post-poll violence victims, ensure accountability in law enforcement, and uphold citizens’ rights during politically sensitive times.

The Court stated “The primary concern of this Court is to ensure registration of complaints whenever a postpoll violence takes place irrespective of political affiliations.

Following the Lok Sabha General Election of 2024, the state witnessed a disturbing surge in post-poll violence, allegedly targeting individuals associated with specific political affiliations. The petitioners, aggrieved by such acts, approached the court seeking intervention, alleging negligence by local authorities in registering their complaints. Concerned by the escalating violence, the court took cognizance of the matter, recognizing the need for immediate action to ensure citizen safety and uphold the rule of law.

Instances of post-poll violence in the state were not uncommon, with previous incidents occurring after the Bidhan Sabha election. The present petition highlighted similar violence following the Lok Sabha General Election, 2024. Despite complaints, local authorities allegedly failed to register FIRs, raising serious concerns about law enforcement impartiality.

The petitioners, associated with a specific political party, were allegedly targeted in post-poll violence. They contended that despite filing complaints, no action was taken by local police stations, indicating a biased approach.

The petitioners alleged negligence by local police in registering FIRs against perpetrators of post-poll violence. They argued for immediate judicial intervention to ensure their safety and to uphold the rule of law.

The Court, taking judicial notice of media reports on post-poll violence, recognized the gravity of the situation. It emphasized the need to ensure registration of complaints irrespective of political affiliations and issued the following interim directions:

  1. Alternative Complaint Mechanism: Allowed individuals to lodge complaints related to post-poll violence directly to the Director General and Inspector General of Police, West Bengal, through designated email addresses, i.e., i) ii)

  2. Transparency: Directed immediate disclosure in public domain of received complaints on the West Bengal Police website.

  3. FIR Registration: Instructed immediate registration of FIRs by concerned police stations upon receipt of complaints disclosing cognizable offenses.

  4. Progress Monitoring: Mandated monitoring of investigation progress by the Director General and Inspector General of Police, West Bengal.

  5. Safety Measures: Ordered state and central forces to safeguard lives and property of victims based on complaints filed through designated email addresses, ensuring cooperation between them.

The court’s directions aimed to ensure swift action against perpetrators, safeguarding citizens’ rights, and maintaining law and order. By providing an alternative complaint mechanism and ensuring transparency, the court sought to address the alleged negligence of local authorities.

The Court held that immediate steps must be taken to register complaints of post-poll violence, irrespective of political affiliations. It emphasized the duty of the state machinery to protect citizens’ lives and property, warning of further intervention if necessary.

[Subhajit Naskar v. Union of India, 2024 SCC OnLine Cal 5685, decided on 06-06-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Ms. Susmita Saha Dutta, Mr. Rajendra Banerjee, Mr. Gouranga Kumar Das, Mr. Ajit Mishra, Mr. Kalyan Kumar Chakraborty, Mr. Prolay Bhattacharya, Ms. Tapasi Sinha Palit, Mr. Ashutosh Pathak, Mr. Pradyut Saha, Ms. Tanusree Ghosh, Ms. Jayita Dhar Chakraborty, Mr. Niladri Saha, and Ms. Madhurima Basu represented the petitioners in the case.

Mr. Anuran Samanta represented the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Mr. Kishore Dutta, Mr. Anirban Ray, Mr. Rana Mukherjee, Mr. Swapan Banerjee, Mr. Vimal Kumar Shahi, Ms. Neelam Singh, Mr. Debanghsu Dinda, and Mr. Jaladhi Das appeared on behalf of the State.

Mr. Dhiraj Kumar Trivedi and Mr. Tirtha Pati Acharyya represented the Union of India (UOI).

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