Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Expressing that, “Time has come that every dutiful citizen of the country must realize their duties and accountability to the society and must refrain from taking the law in their own hands”, Division Bench of Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta, JJ., held that,

Destruction of the public property has a ramification on the society and the taxpayers are burdened for no fault on their part. The charging sections would evince that not only the Public Officers but the public properties have also been destroyed.

Petitioners filed the instant application for anticipatory bail while apprehending the arrest under Sections 147/148/149/325/332/353/435/427 of the Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Section 9 of the West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order Act.

Matter of Great Concern

 The citizens of this country took the law into their own hands and vandalized not only the Police Officers while discharging their duties but also the public property.

Further, the Police Officers intercepted a person ferrying the sacred bull for performing the rituals and more than 100 people encircled the Police Station/Post to create a ruckus pressurizing the Police Officers to succumb to their unreasonable demand and refrain from discharging their statutory functions. The petitioners are the accomplices who accompanied such hooligans and according to the learned Advocate for the State they damaged public property.

High Court expressed that, in recent times, a tendency has developed in the society that if any action is taken by a Public Officer in pursuit of discharge of his duty, the mass gatherings are eminently done not only to create pressure upon them to desist them from discharging their pious duties but also to avoid any action to be taken by such Public Officers. Even sometimes public properties are damaged, and they do not owe any responsibility nor there is any mechanism for accountability towards the burden on the public exchequer. They appeared to have escaped easily as no overt act has been disclosed because of the large gatherings of the people and sometimes it is projected as an act of defence in the trial.

Court opined that petitioners should not be treated differently as equality and equal protection is the hallmark of the Constitutional vision.

However, Bench expressed serious concern on the role of such gatherings interfering with the carriage of the statutory duties by the Public Officers.

In view of the above discussion, anticipatory bail was allowed. [Ashish Singha, In re., 2021SCC OnLine Cal 2913, decided on 11-11-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

Mr Avinaba Patra, Advocate ……for the Petitioners

Mr Sudip Ghosh, Advocate

Mr Bitosok Banerjee, Advocate ……for the State

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints 3 Additional Judges to Calcutta High Court for a period of 2 years with effect from the date they assume charge of their office:

  1. Krishna Rao
  2. Bibhas Ranjan De
  3. Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee

Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 16-11-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: In a case wherein directors of the Board of society had published defamatory statements against the Vice Chairman of the society and circulated the same in the whole society and pasted it on the elevators to defame him, Bibek Chaudhuri, J., explained the offence of defamation and what are the essentials to prove that harm has been caused to the reputation of a person.


Instant application was filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing of proceedings under Section 500 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Facts leading to the present matter

An aged widow/apartment owner of society had applied for permission to effecting repairs of her apartment. Secretary of the society allowed the same.

The said repairing work was stopped by passing a resolution alleging that the aged widow/apartment owner might transfer her membership of the society and her apartment.

Later, the legal advisor of the society gave an opinion that the resolution adopted was illegal and in contravention of the applicable statute.

Complainant construed to the resumption of the repair work at the said owner’s apartment and accused 1 to 3/petitioners opposed the same. When accused 2 started shouting at the complainant, he decided to recuse himself from the said meeting.

An alleged defamatory letter was circulated amongst all the members of the society wherein the following was stated:

(i) Complainant threatened Petitioners with dire consequences and also demeaned female members of the society.

(ii) Opposite party caused premature dissolution of the meeting by indecorous behavior in breach of his duties as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors.

(iii) Opposite party was dismissive of the lawful suggestions made by petitioners.

OP through his advocate issued notice to petitioner for ceasing the publication and circulation of the alleged defamatory letter and to issue written apology denying the impugned allegations against him. Even after the said notice, the letter was found to be pasted on the wall of the elevators of the apartments.

In the present application, petitioners submitted that they were innocent and in no way connected with any offence far less offence alleged.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Section 499 IPC

High Court in view of a Supreme Court decision referred by the parties recorded that to constitute an offence of defamation under Section 499 of Penal Code, 1860, there has to be imputation and it must have been made in the manner as provided in the provision with the intention of causing harm or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm the reputation of the person about whom it has made.

Causing harm to the reputation of a person is the basis on which the offence is founded and the mens rea is a condition precedent to constitute the said offence.

 Section 44 of the Indian Evidence Act

Any harm whatever illegally caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation or property amounts to “injury” within the meaning of Section 44 of the Indian Evidence Act. The harm caused to the reputation of any person is a form of injury.

“…the offence of defamation is the harm caused to the reputation of a person.”

 OP was the Vice-Chairman of the society and petitioners were the directors of the Board of the same society.

Both the parties alleged that they were insulted by each other. OP alleged that publication of the letter containing defamatory statements was caused only to defame him in the estimation of others.

Further, the Bench stated that the following questions of facts are first to be determined by the Trial Court,

“Whether the content of the said letter was defamatory or not, or whether it was it was published by the petitioners or not, or whether it came to the notice of others or not or whether the complainant’s reputation was demeaned in the estimation by others or not…”

Therefore, in view of the above discussion criminal proceeding cannot be quashed invoking the inherent power of this Court contained under Section 482 of the Code. [Alpana Ghosh v. Amitava Ghosh, CRR 278 of 2018, decided on 1-10-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Appellants:

Mr Rajdeep Mazumdar, Adv., Mr Mayukh Mukherjee, Adv.

For the Respondents:

Mr Sandipan Ganguly, Sr. Adv., Mr. Dipanjan Dutta, Adv.,
Mr Rajiv Kumar, Adv.,
Ms Sambrita Chatterjee, Adv.

Appointments & TransfersNews

President of India, in exercise of the power conferred by clause (l) of Article 217, Article 224 and Article 222 of the Constitution of India, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, has made the following appointments/transfers:

No. Name (S/Shri) Name of High Court
1. Uma Shanker Vyas, Judicial Officer As Judge of the Rajasthan High Court.
2. Vikram D Chauhan, Advocate As an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court.
3. Shri Justice Joymalya Bagchi, Judge Transferred from Andhra Pradesh HC to Calcutta HC.

Ministry of Law and Justice

Notification dt. 25-10-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Bibek Chaudhari, J., considered the question as to whether Section 482 CrPC is applicable in relation to an application under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

The following is a summary of High Court’s determination on legal points that were before it for consideration.


In a case set in the backdrop of allegations of violence and harassment advanced by the daughter-in-law against her husband and in-laws, the High Court determined the following questions:

(1) Whether Magistrate’s order in a proceeding under Section 12 read with Section 23 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 on the point of maintainability of said proceeding can be quashed under the provisions of Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure?

(2) Whether an appeal under Section 29 of the Domestic Violence Act shall lie against an order passed by the Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate upon an application filed by the respondent(s) challenging maintainability of the application under Section 12 of the said Act?


After a comprehensive discussion revolving around various provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, inherent powers of High Court and the judicial opinion on the same, the Court concluded that:

(i) Respondent(s) can challenge maintainability of an application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act filed by the aggrieved person before the Court of the Magistrate immediately after appearance in the proceeding by filing appropriate petition.

(ii) The Magistrate shall dispose of such application challenging maintainability of the proceeding under Section 12 after giving the opportunity of being heard to the aggrieved person. An aggrieved party may file an appeal under Section 29 of the Domestic Violence Act against the order passed by the Magistrate before the Sessions Judge.

(iii) Against the order passed by the court of appeal, a revision under Section 397 read with Section 401 CrPC shall lie.

(iv) Alternatively, a respondent may file an application under Section 482 CrPC challenging maintainability of a proceeding under Section 12 of the Act for quashing of the proceedings immediately on receipt of notice before the High Court.

(v) An order upon an application challenging maintainability under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act shall not be assailed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

While so holding, the High Court differed from the decision of the Single Judge of Madras High Court in P. Pathmanathan v. V. Monica, (2021) 2 CTC 57, which inter alia held that the petition under Section 482 CrPC is not maintainable. The Madras High Court said that the relief under the Domestic Violence Act will be granted by a civil or criminal or family court.

It is also important to note that the High Court held that a proceeding under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act is final in nature affecting the rights and/or liabilities of the parties in relation to the question as to whether the aggrieved person is entitled to get relief under Section 18-22 and Section 23(2) of the said Act. [Chaitanya Singhania v. Khushboo Singhania, 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 2602, decided on 27-09-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioners:

Mr. Sabyasachi Banerjee, Adv. Mr. Anirban Dutta, Adv.

Mr. Abhishek Jain, Adv.

For the Respondent:

Sanjoy Bose, Adv.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Opining that “process of applying the pick and choose a policy and making allotments at the whims and fancies of the persons in power continued in the State” Division Bench of Rajesh Bindal, CJ and Arijit Banerjee, J., remarked that,

“It is a fact that Sourav Ganguly has brought laurels for the country in Cricket. But when it comes to law, our Constitutional Scheme is that all are equal and no one can claim to be exclusive, above the law and seek benefits from the State, especially when question arises for allotment of plots for commercial venues.”

What transpired the present matter?

Instant petition was filed in the public interest to challenge allotment of a plot by HIDCO which was done in violation of rules, regulations and policies provided for allotment of plots.

The said allotment was made to respondents 9 and 10. Petition was filed in the year 2016 and was pending since then.

When the matter was taken up for hearing, respondents counsel and counsel for HIDCO submitted that respondents 9 and 10 had surrendered the plot and the amount deposited by them was refunded.

To the above position, petitioners counsel submitted that ‘there is no respect for law in the State of West Bengal.

Further, the counsel stated that in the earlier round of litigation illegal allotment of plot was made to Sourav Ganguly, the respondent 9. The matter was escalated to Supreme Court and vide the Supreme Court decision in Humanity v. State of W.B., (2011) 6 SCC 125, illegal allotment of a plot in a similar fashion in favour of respondent 9 was set aside.

After the above, Sourav Ganguly made a request to the Chief Minister of West Bengal for allotment of a plot and the same allotted to him violating all Rules and Regulations.

In case this allotment was not challenged by the petitioners in this Court, respondent 9 would have enjoyed bounty given by the State/ State Authority. He waited for a period of five years to surrender the allotment. 

Favouritism was writ large as even the lease premium payable by Sourav Ganguly was reduced from 10.98 crores to 5.27 crores. Subsequent thereto a lease deed was executed in favour of Sourav Ganguly by HIDCO.  

Analysis, Law and Decision

Challenge was made on the ground that no advertisement was issued for allotment of the plot in favour of allottee and allotment of a new plot was made even before the earlier was surrendered.

What did the Supreme Court decide?

Supreme Court in its decision held that allotment made in favour of the allottee was illegal and the action of the government was held to be illegal and arbitrary as it failed to satisfy the test of reasonableness and public interest. Supreme Court also found that before allotting the plot of a different identity and larger area, no advertisement was issued and the public was not permitted to participate. The stand taken by the State that the same should be considered in pursuance of the advertisement already issued as the State had right to change the location and size of the plot, was rejected.

Supreme Court further held that in terms of the norms laid down by ‘ICSE’ for recognition/affiliation, the school should be run by a registered society/trust for educational purposes, which is not run for profit. The society therein, namely, Ganguly Education and Welfare Society, which is respondent No.10 in the present petition, was not found to be a public trust as five of the members of the society were found to be family members staying at one address and one was the close relation and the seventh was the chartered accountant. It was further observed that the allottee may be a well-known sportsman but did not claim any expertise as an educationist.

The object of the Land Allotment Policy was to bring uniformity and reduce discretion. Transparency in decision-making process while dealing with public assets was another object.

Policy is meant to be applicable for allotment of land and other assets of the Government and all its parastatals.

Bench noted that respondent 9 had good access to the corridors of power, which was writ large from the facts of the case. He requested for allotment of plot for building of school and nowhere in that communication it was said that the plot was being applied for to be allotted to any charitable institution. Rather it was evident that the plot was meant to be used for plain and simple commercial venture.

Further, the Court noted that,

HIDCO requested him to apprise the corporation as to whether he wants allotment of a plot in his own name or in the name of any trust. It shows that the bonafides were not examined before taking up the matter either by the State Cabinet or by the Board of Directors of HIDCO. They with closed eyes had decided to allot a plot as if it was not a State property but a private limited company which was permitted to deal with its property, as per its own wish without following due process of law.

High Court remarked that,

“There is no good reason on record as to why Land Allotment Policy was violated.”

Another striking point was that, HIDCO on request of Sourav Ganguly reduced the premium amount along with change of location of plot as the one allotted to him was not suitable for setting up of school.

Hence, the above noted facts clearly show that respondent 9 was in position to dictate his terms, as if it was not a case where State was dealing with its property, where fair and transparent procedure was required to be followed. Rather it was a case wherein respondent 9 was able to play with the system.

“Such an action of the government or its instrumentalities does not inspire confidence of the people. They also try to use unfair means to take similar benefits knowing well that in case the law can be broken for one person, the same system can be followed for the others as well.”

Following the above, Court also noted the fact that no steps were taken by respondent 9 and 10 to execute the project as if the idea was only to grab a plot at throwaway prces.

Whereas, as per Clause A(iv) of the lease deed, lessee had to commence construction within 6 months from the date of delivery of possession and complete the same and fully commission the proposed project within a period of 36 months.

Time is stated to be the essence of the contract.

Despite the non-execution of the project, which in fact was a non-starter till the surrender of the plot by respondents 9 and 10 in August 2020, the HIDCO did not take any action against respondents 9 and 10 for cancellation of lease as they had failed to comply with the terms.

Earlier Decisions on the issue of ‘Illegal Allotments’

In Tarak Singh v. Jyoti Basu, 1999 SCC OnLine Cal 29, Court considered the issue of illegal allotment and observed that where arbitrary allotment of plots in Salt Lake City by the Minister-in-Charge at his own whims and fancies, was the subject matter of dispute. Plots in that case were also allotted without any advertisement. In this case as well, the then Chief Minister had thought that the public property was his own private property and he could allot the same to anyone at his whims and fancies.

The above decision was the subject matter of consideration before Supreme Court in Tarak Singh v. Jyoti Basu, (2005) 1 SCC 201,

Allotment of plot in favour of a Judge of this Court by the then Chief Minister was quashed. As the learned Single Judge had not quashed the allotment, the allottee being not a party before the Court, an application was filed before the Hon’ble the Supreme Court to implead Justice B.P. Banerjee (Retd.) as party respondent. The same was allowed and with strong observations made against the allotments made by the Chief Minister from his discretionary quota, after hearing the learned Counsel for Justice B.P. Banerjee (Retd.), the Hon’ble the Supreme Court had set aside the allotment of plot in his favour.

In Joydeep Mukherjee v. State of W.B., (2011) 2 SCC 706, Supreme Court had refused to reopen the issue regarding discretionary allotment of plots by the then Chief Minister which had already been settled by the decisions of either this Court or the Supreme Court. However, an affidavit filed by the State was taken note of which stated that the State Government had taken a conscious decision not to make further allotments under the discretionary quota for the left out plots.

Supreme Court covered the said issue in Akhil Bharatiya Upbhokta Congress v. State of M.P., (2011) 5 SCC 29, wherein the Court was called upon to consider allotment of a plot without issuing advertisement or adopting a procedure consistent with the doctrine of equality so as to enable other similar organisations/institutions to participate in the process of allotment.

Further, in the above decision, it was opined that,

“…the State and/or its agencies/instrumentalities cannot give largesse to any person according to the sweet will and whims of the political entities. Transparent method is to be followed in terms of a well defined policy. There cannot be any policy for allotment of any plot on an application made by an individual without issuing any advertisement. The State can allot plots to the institutions engaged in education or other activities except by way of auction. Once a piece of land is identified for the purpose, the exercise of allotment must be done in a manner consistent with the doctrine of equality. The same can be after issuing advertisement and allowing all eligible candidates to participate in the process. Finally, allotment of plot in favour of the allottee was quashed.”

Present Matter

High Court held that the allotment of plot to respondent 9 was done in a totally arbitrary manner, present case is the one where rules, regulation and law laid down by the Supreme Court and this Court has been given complete go-bye at the whims and fancies of persons in charge.

Final Words

No one ever raises a finger when the Government showers awards and benefits to the sportspersons, when they win any tournament, but this system is not to continue in perpetuity.

If Sourav Ganguly is interested in development of sports especially cricket, in which he has many achievements to his credit, there may be already many State sports establishments, he can associate himself with them and motivate budding cricketers.

High Court imposed a Cost of Rs 50,000 each on State and HIDCO and a token cost of Rs 10,000 on respondents 9 and 10 for the reason that they should have acted in accordance with the law.

Parting Note

In case arbitrary power still continues, persons exercising such powers, may be held personally responsible.

Concurring Opinion of Arijit Banerjee, J.

“…distribution of State largesse must be undertaken in a completely transparent manner and strictly adhering to the applicable rules and regulations, if any.”

Further, he stated that if the State intends to allot land to private parties for the purpose of being used commercially, against payment of lease rent/licence fee to the Government, the same has to be done openly by a tender process, inviting offers from interested parties and accepting the highest offer subject to such offer being in accordance with the law of the land.

State holds landed property in Trust and for the ultimate benefit of the citizens of the State in general and no one party can be permitted to reap special benefit from such property at the expense of the interest of the people at large.

[Humanity, Salt Lake v. State of W.B., 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 2610, decided on 27-09-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioners: Anindya Lahiri, Samrat Dey Paul, Advocates (tHROUGH vc)

For the WBHIDCO: Jishnu Chowdhury, Advocate (Present in Court) Sandip Dasgupta, Chayan Gupta and Ayan De, Advocates (Through VC)

For the Respondents 9 and 10: Amitava Mitra, Advocate (Through VC)

Sumita Shaw and Sayani Bhattacharya, Advocates (Present in Court)

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: The Full Bench of Rajesh Bindal, ACJ and I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar, JJ., in furtherance to the order passed on 19-08-2021 which had directed the constitution of SIT to monitor the investigation of specific categories of cases monitored by a retired Hon’ble Supreme Court Judge, appointed a retired Chief Justice of a High Court stating non-availability of a retired

Supreme Court Judge to take up the assignment.

The Full Bench stated that justice Manjula Chellur, retired Chief Justice of this Court was requested to take up the assignment which was graciously accepted and accordingly she has been appointed to monitor the SIT.

The Court as an interim measure State Government has been asked to pay a sum of 10 lakhs to her for the assignment and it was made clear that she will be entitled to travel from her place of stay to any place in connection to the work assigned and stay, which is befitting to a Chief Justice. All arrangements for her travel and stay would be looked upon by the Chief Secretary of the State of West Bengal.[Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India, WPA (P) 143 of 2021, order dated: 03-09-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appointments & TransfersNews

Calcutta High Court | Elevation of 2 Advocates and 4 Judicial Officers as Judges

Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for elevation of the following Advocates as Judges in the Calcutta High Court:


  1. Shri Krishna Rao, and
  2. Ms Koyeli Bhattacharyya

Judicial Officers

  1. Smt Shampa Dutt (Paul),
  2. Shri Bibhas Ranjan De,
  3. Shri Siddhartha Roy Chowdhury, and
  4. Shri Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee.

Collegium Resolution

[Statement dt. 1-09-2021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Appointment of Permanent Judge

President appoints Justice Kausik Chanda, Additional Judge of the Calcutta High Court, to be a Judge of the Calcutta High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 3-09-2021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Appointment of Additional Judges

President appoints (1) Miss Kesang Doma Bhutia, S/Shri (2) Rabindranath Samanta, (3) Sugato Majumdar, (4) Bivas Pattanayak, and (5) Ananda Kumar Mukherjee, to be AdditionalJudges of the Calcutta High Court, in that order of seniority.


The appointment of S/Shri (1) Sugato Majumdar, and (2) Bivas Pattanayak as Additional Judges of Calcutta High Court would be for a period of two years with effect from the date they assume charge of their respective offices. However, the period of appointment of (1) Miss Kesang Doma Bhutia, S/Shri (2) Rabindranath Samanta, and (3) Ananda Kumar Mukherjee, as Additional Judges of Calcutta High Court would be till 04th May, 2022, 23rd June, 2023 and 04tl1 August, 2022 respectively with effect from the date they assume charge of their offices.

Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 26-08-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Moushumi Bhattacharya, J. granted an injunction until further orders in favour of registered proprietor of trademark.

In the instant application for infringement and passing off of the petitioners’ registered trademark “GANESH”, it was directed against the respondents who were carrying on a partnership firm in the name of “GANESH DEPARTMENT STORES”.

The complaint was not against the name of the partnership firm but against the use of the mark “GANESH” by the respondents in relation to identical goods.

Counsel contended that the word mark ‘GANESH’ has been protected from infringement by orders of various courts.

Analysis Law and Decision

High Court stated that the first petitioner had been using the word “GANESH” for its goods at least since 1956 when petitioner 1 filed an application for registration of trademark “GANESH”.

Petitioners claimed to use the trademark in respect of the question both in India as well as in countries outside India with voluminous sales, reaching almost Rs 500 crores per annum coupled with advertisement expenses of about Rs 7 crores every year.

The invoices and other documents would show that petitioner 1 has been using the word “GANESH” together with a combination of distinctive packaging for a substantial length of time.

The respondents’ packaging, although different from the petitioners’ packaging or get up, consists of the word “GANESH” which has been rendered in a prominent fashion. The documents also show that the respondents applied for the mark “GANESH” sometime in 2005 but such application was deemed to be abandoned as a result of the respondents not filing the counter-statement.

Long User

Bench in view of the above, stated that there was no doubt that petitioner claimed to have exclusive rights on the trademark “GANESH” by reason of the long user of the said mark by petitioners for specific goods.

Adding to the above, Court stated that petitioners registered the word mark “GANESH” in 2003 and are hence entitled to proprietary use of the said mark for the goods in question.

Since the goods in the present case being used by the respondents were identical, as would be evident from the respondents’ packaging, petitioner 1 is covered by Sections 28 and 29 of The Trade Marks Act, 1999. The respondents have not shown any basis to claim concurrent use of the mark “GANESH”.

Therefore, petitioners established a prima facie case for issue of an injunction in respect of the trademark “GANESH” and are entitled to stop the respondents from using the said trademark for relevant goods until the Court is in a position to consider further facts on affidavits. [Ganesh Grain Ltd. v. Ganesh Department Stores, CS 90 of 2021, decided on 13-08-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

Mr. Ranjan Bachawat, Sr. Adv. Mr. Debnath Ghosh, Adv. Mr. Shaunak Mitra, Adv. Ms. Vaibhavi Pandey, Adv. …for the petitioners

Mr. S. Kumar …for the respondents

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: The Full Bench of Rajesh Bindal, ACJ and I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar, JJ., continued hearing the matter of infamous series of petitions filed with the allegation that the people who supported the political parties other than the ruling party in the recently concluded Assembly Elections in the State (year 2021), had been made to suffer at the hands of the supporters/workers of the party, which came in power.

Let’s have a look at the petitions in brief. WPA (P) 142 of 2021 filed on 04-05-2021 dealt with the prayer to combat the post-poll violence and take corrective as well preventive action and sought to open Control Room so as to enable the victims to lodge their complaints online or over telephone. WPA (P) 143 of 2021 filed on 06-05-2021 dealt with issuance of direction to the respondents to take immediate steps to stop ongoing post-poll violence and to call for an independent and impartial investigation of the offences by constitution of a special investigation team. WPA (P) 144 of 2021 filed on 07-05-2021 was filed by an advocate practicing in this Court in public interest raising the issue of post-poll violence. The prayer was made for a direction to the police to immediately take action and stop the atrocities. WPA (P) 145 of 2021 filed on 10-05-2021 raised the issues regarding violence in which number of workers of the opposition parties including the main opposition party suffered physically as well as damage to their properties. WPA (P) 146 of 2021 filed on 10-05-2021 prayed to the Central as well as the State government to deploy more forces to maintain law and order, appoint an independent committee to conduct free and fair investigation, to provide protection to the petitioner from retributive action of rioting mob, direction to the police to register FIRs in all cases. WPA (P) 147 of 2021 filed on 10-05-2021 prayer was made to secure life and property of the affected persons, proper judicial investigation of the incidents of political violence. WPA (P) 148 of 2021 filed on 12-05-2021 the prayer was for calling upon the official respondents to show cause as to why they failed to register the complaints. WPA(P) 149 of 2021 filed on 12-05-2021 was being filed by the widow of a person, who was murdered on May 03, 2021 in post-poll violence. The prayer was made for independent investigation of the crime after registration of the FIRs. WPA (P) 167 of 2021 filed on 03-06-2021 prayer was made for appropriate protection and deployment of security forces in the area and constitution of a special investigation team for independent investigation of crime.

Arguments of the petitioners:

  1. The residents in this State were being punished for exercising their right of vote in free and fair manner and material which had come on record clearly suggested that there was post-poll violence, which was well planned.
  2. The police had failed to record complaints and wherever these were recorded, after intervention of this Court, the complainants were threatened to withdraw the same.
  3. It is established from the NHRC report that there was complicity of the police and the persons in power, in the violence which erupted after polling and also declaration of the result in the recently concluded Assembly Elections.
  4. Mahesh Jethmalani, learned Senior Counsel, submitted that there were 60% gap between the number of death as reported by the Committee and as submitted by the State. The Committee reported 52 murders even though it had not visited the entire State whereas the Director General of Police reported only 29. As per the State, there was no rape incident, whereas the Committee reported that there were 11 rape cases. In fact, two of the gang rape victims had moved Hon’ble the Supreme Court.
  5. Further pointing out the facts from the report of the Committee and the response of the State, it was submitted that out of 3,384 complaints forwarded by the Committee to the State, there was no response in about 1,000 such complaints. In 135 cases, the State claimed that the cases were found to be not true. However, the same was done without registration of any FIR though cognizable offences were reported.
  6. A long list of crime against women had been furnished by the committee, which was directed to be kept in a sealed cover, otherwise the identity of the victims would have been disclosed. The cases of manipulating the Post-Mortem Reports or Medico Legal Reports by the State machinery also came up.
  7. J. Sai Deepak, Counsel for petitioners submitted that the main issue involved in the bunch of petitions was as to whether an independent probe was required in the cases involving post poll violence in the state. He argued that from the report of the committee, which was supported by documents, it was established that the state had failed to discharge its constitutional obligation in maintaining law and order in the State.

Arguments of the respondents:

  1. Kapil Sibal, Senior Counsel appearing for different Superintendents of Police submitted that this Court had set up the Committee, there was no direction for any interim report to be filed but still it was filed and the petitioners in their arguments have referred to the report as given by the NHRC and this case provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 would be applicable. The 1993 Act provides for complete procedure for enquiry and investigation that was required to be followed. In the absence thereof, the report cannot be accepted as such.
  2. Referring to the biasness of the members of the Committee, he submitted that three of the members thereof including the Chairperson of the Committee have close links with BJP. Hence, report falls on that ground as well, as bias is writ large on the fact of it.
  3. S.N. Mukherjee, Senior Counsel appearing for the Director General of Police submitted that data given in the report was self-contradictory. Date of incident was not mentioned in about 43% of the cases. 892 cases pertained to the period from May 02-05, 2021. 35 cases were prior to May 02, 2021.
  4. A.M. Singhvi, Senior Counsel also appearing for Director General of Police, submitted that the report cannot be treated as conclusive and on that basis, no action can be taken. He further referred to the discrepancies in the report to show that the translation made by the Committee of various complaints was wrong.
  5. Kishore Dutta, Advocate General appearing for the State, submitted that even the State was quite serious about the incidents which had taken place after polling in the State. He referred to the details of 268 FIRs registered by the State suo-moto.
  6. Dastoor, Additional Solicitor General submitted that there was post-poll violence is a fact not denied by the State. Response of the police even after the cases were filed was not adequate and timely. Some action was taken when the Court intervened. In fact drastic steps are required to be taken to establish rule of law and save democracy. He further submitted that in case assistance of any of the independent agency for investigation or any para-military force is required to maintain law and order in the State, the Government will abide by the order of the Court.

The Court heard the parties, perused all the relevant documents presented. During the discussion of the matter the Court clarified major issues in the arguments the first being the, “duration of the post poll violence”, “election commission’s duty on law and order” and the “bias” of the three-member committee as pointed out by the counsel for the respondents.

The Court further relied on several Supreme Court judgments which they believed guided them in the present factual matrix of the case. Some of which are National Human Rights Commission v. State of Arunachal Pradesh, (1996) 1 SCC 742, Rubabbuddin Sheikh v. State of Gujarat, (2010) 2 SCC 200 and  State of West Bengal v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal, (2010) 3 SCC 571. The major development in this case came as the Director General of Police had directed the CID to take over the investigation. A writ petition was filed in this Court alleging therein that police administration was under the influence of the ruling party, which was trying to hide the incident. It was prayed that he investigation of the case be handed over to CBI and the Court had directed the same to be transferred to CBI.

The Court finally opined that the heinous crime such as murder and rape deserve to be investigated by an independent agency which in circumstances can only be Central Bureau of Investigation. It is for the reason that in number of cases, the State had failed to register the FIRs and opined the same to be not the cases of murder. In some cases, even after registration of FIR, the observation by the State is that these may result in ‘no case’. This shows pre-determined mind to take investigation into a particular direction. Under such circumstances investigation by independent agency will inspire confidence to all concerned.

To install faith of the people in rule of law and considering the extraordinary circumstances with which the State and the Court proposed to constitute a Special Investigation Team headed by Suman Bala Sahoo and Soumen Mitra and Ranveer Kumar, all IPS officers of West Bengal cadre, as the members and the their working shall be overviewed by a retired Hon’ble Judge of Hon’ble the Supreme Court, who shall be requested to take up the assignment after taking his/her consent.

The Court finally issued a set of directions:

  • All the cases where, as per the report of the Committee, the allegations are about murder of a person and crime against women regarding rape/attempt to rape, shall be referred to CBI for investigation.
  • As the core issue regarding the post-poll violence and the action required to be taken thereon has been resolved with the directions for proper investigation of cases by the CBI and the SIT as referred to above, the matters now shall be placed before the Division Bench for dealing with other issues in the report and further proceedings.
  • The sealed cover (Annexure – I) submitted by the Committee along with its report, second autopsy report of Abhijit Sarkar, DNA analysis report as submitted by the Director Command Hospital, Kolkata and any other sealed cover pertaining to the case, lying with the Registrar General of this Court shall be handed over to the authorised officer of the CBI against proper receipt.
  • Immediate action shall be taken by the State to pay compensation to the victims of crime as per the policy of the State, after due verification. It shall be direct bank transfer in their accounts
  • CBI and the SIT to submit its status report in Court within six weeks.

The other judges of the Bench while concurring with the judgment penned by the Acting CJ. penned their separate briefings and observations in favour of the conclusions.[Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India, WPA(P) 143 of 2021, pronounced on 19-08-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appointments & TransfersNews

Supreme Court Collegium

Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for the appointment of Shri Justice Kausik Chanda, Additional Judge of the Calcutta High Court as Permanent Judge of that High Court.

Supreme Court of India

[Statement dt. 17-08-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Rajasekhar Mantha, J., held that,

To compel a senior citizen to approach either a civil court (the jurisdiction of which is any way barred under Section 27 of the 2007 Act) or take recourse to a special Statute like the 2007 Act would in most cases be extremely erroneous and painful for a person in the sunset days of life.

It is well settled that children and their spouses living in the senior citizen’s house are at best “licensees”. It is also stated that the said license comes to an end once the senior citizens are not comfortable with their children and their families.

The above-said principle was followed by the Delhi High Court in Sandeep Gulati v. Divisional Commissioner, WP (C) 2761 of 2020 and Punjab and Haryana High Court in Manmohan Singh v. UT Chandigarh, Case No. 1365 of 2015; Samsher Singh v. District Magistrate, U.T. Chandigarh (Case No. 2017 CWP 6365) and Gurpreet Singh v. State of Punjab, Case No. 2016 (1) RCR (Civil) 324.

Issues for consideration:

  • Availability of alternative remedy under the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
  • Right of a daughter-in-law of residence to be provided by either the husband or the father-in-law, if directed by a competent court under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Supreme Court in S. Vanitha v. Deputy Commissioner, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1023, expressed that since both, the Senior Citizens Act, 2007 as also the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are special legislations, the two must be construed harmoniously and applied suitably by a writ court hearing a plea of the senior citizens that they do not want their children to live with them. In the said decision, Supreme Court elaborately dealt with the principle under the headline “E. Harmonising competing reliefs under the PWDV Act 2005 and Senior Citizens Act 2007”.

In the present matter, since no right of residence was sought by the daughter-in-law, the Court opined that there was no impediment in allowing exclusive residentiary rights to the senior citizens to direct eviction of son and daughter-in-law.

Therefore, while concluding, the High Court stated that the right of a senior citizen to exclusively reside in his own house, must be viewed from the prism of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Further, the Court added that the principle of alternative remedy cannot be strictly applied to Senior Citizens and a Writ Court must come to the aid of a Senior Citizen in a given case.

A nation that cannot take care of its aged, old and infirm citizens cannot be regarded as having achieved complete civilization.

In view of the above discussion, petition was disposed of.[Ramapada Basak v. State of West Bengal, 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 2161, decided on 23-07-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

Mr. Sobhan Majumder
… … for the petitioners

Mr. Raja Saha Mr. Simanta Kabir

… for the State

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission constituted a Committee to enquire into the post-poll violence in West Bengal, as per the directions of the Calcutta High Court. The Committee submitted its report to the Court on 13th July, 2021.

On the further directions of the Court, the Committee provided a copy of the said report to its Advocate in Calcutta, who shared with the Advocates of all the parties concerned in the related multiple writ petitions.

The matter being sub-judice, the Committee of the NHRC did not share its report to any entity other than those specified by the Court.

Since the report is already available with all the concerned parties as per the directives of the Court, there is no question of leakage at the level of the NHRC.

The attribution regarding the alleged leakage of the said Report to the NHRC is absolutely baseless and factually incorrect.

National Huma Rights Commission

[Press Statement dt. 15-07-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Full Bench of Rajesh Bindal, ACJ and I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen, Subrata Talukdar, JJ., decided that the arguments in the case begin from 22-07-2021 after the NHRC submitted its final report vide order dated 18-06-2021. The committee submitted five sets of reports in separate sealed covers along with annexures.

On 02-07-2021, the Court had perused the interim report submitted by the NHRC, and it was derived that stand taken by the petitioners was established. Vide order dated 02-07-2021, Court had directed that second autopsy of deceased Abhijit Sarkar, whose dead body was lying in hospital be undertaken by a team of doctors in the Command Hospital, Kolkata.

Mr Y.J. Dastoor, Additional Solicitor General of India apprised the Court that an autopsy of the deceased has been conducted and report was being prepared. It was further submitted that the brother of the deceased expressed his inability to identify the body on account of its bad condition. Sample for DNA analysis of the deceased has been taken to confirm the identity of the body.

The Court ordered that the samples for DNA analysis of Biswajit Sarkar (brother of the deceased) be taken at the Command Hospital on 15-07-2021 at 11 A.M and he should carry his Aadhar Card at the time of giving his sample. Director, CFSL, Kolkata was directed to conduct DNA analysis of both the samples at the earliest on a priority basis and submit a report to the Court in a sealed cover within one week.

The Court directed that the body of the deceased be shifted back to the Hospital Mortuary and shall be retained in a safe condition until further order.[Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India, WPA(P) 142 of 2021, dated: 13-07-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: The Full Bench of Rajesh Bindal, ACJ and  I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar, JJ., on 02-07-2021 perused the interim report filed by the NHRC in pursuance to court order dated 18-06-2021 on 30-06-2021.

After perusal, it was established that there had been post poll violence and the state was found on a wrong foot, where throughout it was on a denial mode. In violence, number of persons were killed. Many suffered sexual violence and grievous injuries. Even minor girls were not spared. They have been brutally assaulted sexually. The properties of many of them were damaged and number of them were forced to leave their houses and even migrate to neighbouring states. Investigation of the cases registered was in slip shod manner and hardly any arrests were made in such heinous crimes. Some of the cases have not been registered although prima facie they disclosed commission of cognizable offence. In most of the cases accused have been bailed out.

The Court was taken to surprise by the fact that state authorities, had been claiming throughout, that there were no complaints received by them but when opportunity was given to the complainants to file complaints with the State Legal Services Authority or the NHRC, the authorities were flooded with complaints. The report suggested that there is more to conceal than to reveal.

The Court issued certain directions in relation to the same,

  1. The police is directed to register cases in all matters which have either been reported to it or have been placed before the NHRC or any other authority/Commission. Steps be taken to get the statements of the victims recorded under section 164 CrPC immediately, as per law.
  2. The State shall make all arrangements for medical treatment of all who have been injured in the violence, post assembly elections.
  3. Supply of rations be ensured to the persons, even if they have lost their ration cards.
  4. The state is directed to place before the committee complete details of the cases in which the accused were arrested and have been enlarged on bail by the courts, so as to enable it to place the same before the court.
  5. Whatever information has been asked for by the committee from different authorities in the state, be supplied immediately. Any delay may call for adverse inference.
  6. Second autopsy of Abhijit Sarkar, Vice President of Bhartiya Mazdoor Trade Union Council in district Kolkata, whose body is lying in hospital be got done from a team of doctors to be constituted by the head of the Hospital at Command Hospital, Kolkata. For the purpose, the Chairperson of the Committee constituted by the National Human Rights Commission shall coordinate with the hospital concerned where the body of the deceased is lying and also the Head of the Command Hospital. The body shall be shifted to the Command Hospital for carrying out the second autopsy. The report shall specifically mention about the condition of the body as to whether it was properly preserved in the hospital where it was.
  7. Let a notice be issued to Rashid Munir Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South Suburban Division, Kolkata to show cause as to why proceedings for contempt be not initiated against him for violation of the order passed by this court on June 18, 2021.
  8. All the central agencies and service providers of various services to assist the committee and provide the requisite information wherever required, to the extent permissible in law.
  9. The Chief Secretary of the State is directed to ensure preservation of the correspondence of the Special Branch/ Intelligence Branch of the State Police. Logs of different control rooms should also be preserved. The entire material from May 02, 2021 till date be kept in a sealed cover duly signed by the members of the committee, immediately. Any lapse or delay in the matter will invite adverse inference.

Matter adjourned to 13-07-2021.[Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India, WPA(P) 142 of 2021, dated: 02-07-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Bibek Chaudhuri, J., expressed that, voluntary presents given at or before or after the marriage to the bride or the bridegroom, as the case may be, of a traditional nature, which are given not as a consideration for marriage but out of love, affection on regard, would not fall within the mischief of the expression ‘dowry’ made punishable under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Appellants were convicted for committing an offence under Sections 498-A and 304-B Penal Code, 1860.

It was submitted that the de facto complainant would give a gold chain to the appellants within 6 months of the marriage of his daughter Soma with Netai Ghosh (appellant 1). immediately after marriage, the appellants started abusing Soma with filthy language. The same was conveyed by the daughter to the de facto complainant and other paternal relations. Soma’s husband also physically assaulted her.

Demand of Dowry

Later, de facto complainant came to know that his daughter Soma died consuming poison and according to him Soma committed suicide failing to bear physical and mental torture on demand of dowry inflicted upon her.

Trial judge held the appellant guilty for committing offence under Section 498A and 304B of the Penal Code, 1860.

In the instant case, the marriage of Soma was solemnized only before 44 days of her unnatural death.

Analysis and Decision

In a case of cruelty and dowry death, direct evidence is hardly available, and it is the circumstantial evidence and the conduct of the accused persons to be taken into consideration.

In the present matter, it was alleged in the FIR that the mother-in-law of the deceased used to abuse the deceased with filthy language as her father failed to give a gold chain at the time of the marriage

Allegation of cruelty and unnatural death of the deceased was made by the defacto complainant only after the death of the deceased.

Further, it is significant to note that the de facto complainant did not state in the FIR as well as in course of his evidence that the accused persons demanded dowry as a consequence of marriage.

Definition of expression “dowry” contained in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 cannot be applied merely to the “demand” of money, property or valuable security made at or after the performance of marriage. 

Elaborating more on the concept of dowry, it was expressed that under Section 4 of the Act, mere demand of dowry is not sufficient to bring home the offence of an accused.

Any demand of money, property or valuable security made from the bride or her parents or other relatives by the bridegroom or his parents or other relatives or vice versa would fall within the mischief of “dowry” under the Act where such demand is not properly referable to any legally recognized claim and is relatable only to the consideration of marriage.

 It was noted that there was absolutely no evidence that prior to her death the witnesses being PW1, PW2, PW4 and PW5 and others try to settle the alleged dispute between the parties during the lifetime of Soma.

As per the evidence Soma was ill-tempered, therefore, if at any incident of quarrel broke between the appellants and Soma, her nature was not such that she would silently digest the allegations made against her.

Since trial Judge failed to consider the above circumstances while holding the accused persons guilty and prosecution failed to prove the cause of death of the deceased, High Court set aside the decision of trial court. [Netai Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 1938, decided on 21-06-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Younush Mondal, Adv.

For the State: Swapan Banerjee, Adv., Suman De, Adv.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: The Division Bench of Rajesh Bindal, ACJ. and Arijit Banerjee, J., suo moto took up a matter in larger public interest which was brought into notice by Shivakant Prasad, J., wherein he had noticed disturbing news published in the daily Hindi newspaper ‘Sanmarg’ regarding apprehension of waste of medicines worth a crore of rupees in Beliaghata ID hospital. The relevant part of the communication mentioned by Shivakant Prasad, J. included apprehension of medicinal wastage worth Rs. 1 crore, whereas the patients are crying for the medicines and injections, a big chunk of medicine is lying without use in Beliaghata ID hospital and if it is not allowed to be looked into then it is going to be wastage which is sheer loss to public exchequer and the patient go without medicine and injection in other hospitals.

He further showed concern about the absence of proper management and distribution of medicine and injections by the Health Department, Government of West Bengal as in other hospitals. He further proposed that the Government should be directed to place such a mechanism to improve store management capacity by employing competent professionals, equipping the store with necessary technology and introducing monitoring and evaluating health supply chain performance system in the health facilities.

The Court found that the note by Shivakant Prasad, J. was self-explanatory and that there was a need to develop a mechanism whereby wasteful expenditure on purchase of medicines in different hospitals and also the medical colleges which are not required and have to be thrown in the dustbin after its expiry, need to be examined.

The Court directed that notice of the petition be issued to the State of West Bengal through its Chief Secretary and the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department and they were asked to apprise the Court about the amount spent on purchase of different medicines and other consumables in the State of West Bengal during the last five years in different hospitals and medical colleges and the amount of medicines which had to be disposed of as the same could not be utilized before their expiry date, and also whether there is any software used for monitoring the purchase, supply and utilization of medicines in different hospitals in the State to check wastage and unnecessary purchase thereof.

The Court opined that “The entire system has to be maintained with the help of information and technology, the era in which we are living. One needs to keep in mind that taxpayers’ money of which the State is a trustee cannot be allowed to be wasted like this.”

The Court added that, “The entire mind and energy should not be used for framing the schemes to make the voters happy.”

Matter to be heard on 08-07-2021.[Court on its own motion v. State of West Bengal, WPA (P) 180 of 2021, order dated: 22-06-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Full Bench of Rajesh Bindal, C.J.(A), I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen, Subrata Talukdar, JJ., on 18-06-2021 heard a series of petitions which dealt with the issue of the number of persons been made to run away from their houses to save their lives and are not being allowed to come back. The Court had given liberty to send complaints to the official e-mail ID of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority and reinstatement had to be done e in the presence of a Committee of the officers nominated by the National Human Rights Commission and the West Bengal State Human Rights Commission and the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority.

The Court opined that in a case like where the allegation is that life and property of the residents of the State is in danger on account of alleged post poll violence, the State cannot be allowed to proceed in the manner it likes. The complaints required immediate action. The Court found that such an action was missing and it was the duty of the State to maintain law and order in the State and inspire confidence in the residents of the State.  The Court further added that, “State from the very beginning had been denying everything but the facts as having been placed on record by the petitioners and also as is evident little bit from the report dated June 3, 2021, filed by the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, are different.”

The Court held that keeping in view the fact that there was infrastructure available with the NHRC, directed the Chairperson to constitute a Committee of which the Member Secretary of State Legal Services Authority shall be a member, to examine all the cases, the complaints of which have already been received by the Commission or which may be received. The Matter was adjourned to 30-06-2021.

On 21-06-2021 the Bench dismissed all the petitions which were filed by the State for recalling/modifying the order dated 18-06-2021.

It was contended that the State was not given any opportunity to place complete facts before the Court. In fact, the State had taken appropriate action. Counsel for the non-applicants had raised serious objections to the prayers made in the applications. Arguments raised are that considering the conduct of the State, ever since this Court had taken cognizance of the matter, this Court was constrained to pass the order directing the National Human Rights Commission along with the representatives from the State Human Rights Commission and the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority to go into the various complaints filed by the different persons.

The Court found that no case is made out for recalling, modification or stay of the order passed by this Court on 18-06-2021. The Court added that the way the State was proceeding in the matter which required immediate action, did not inspire confidence. Whatever information the State now wants to produce with reference to the complaints, may be placed before the National Human Rights Commission, which is to examine all the complaints along with the information supplied by the State and submit a report before this Court.

On 21-06-2021 Chairperson, NHRC constituted a Committee to be headed by Mr Rajiv Jain, Member, NHRC to enquire into complaints of post-poll violence in West Bengal.

The Committee is as under:

  1. Shri Rajiv Jain, Member, NHRC, head of the Committee.
  2. Shri Atif Rasheed, Vice Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities.
  3. Smt. (Dr.) Rajulben L. Desai, Member, National Commission for Women.
  4. Shri Santosh Mehra, Director General (Investigation), NHRC.
  5. Shri Pradip Kumar Panja, Registrar, West Bengal State Human Rights Commission.
  6. Shri Raju Mukherjee, Member Secretary, West Bengal State Legal Services Authority.
  7. Smt. Manzil Saini, DIG (Investigation), NHRC.

As per the directions of the High Court:-

a) This Committee shall examine all cases of post-poll violence in West Bengal, complaints about which have already been received in the National Human Rights Commission or which may be received.

b) The Committee shall also examine the complaints which have been received by the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority and also further complaints that may be received by the Legal Services Authority.

c) The cases shall be examined, including by visiting the affected areas and shall submit a comprehensive report to the High Court of Calcutta about the present situation and also steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood.

d) The Committee shall also point out the persons, prima-facie, responsible for crime and the officers who maintained calculated silence on the issue.

[Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India, WPA(P) 142 of 2021, decided on 18-06-2021 & 21-06-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.