Post-poll violence: HC unhappy as Bengal government lawyer has no information on compliance of compensation order

By PTI

KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Monday expressed displeasure at the West Bengal government’s lawyer having no information on compliance of its order to the administration to pay compensation to victims of post-poll violence, observing that it displays a “total casual attitude in a serious matter.”

The CBI and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the West Bengal Police submitted separate status reports before the court on the progress of investigation in cases of post-poll violence in the state as per an order of a five-judge bench on August 19.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj noted that the counsel appearing for the state does not have any information on compliance with a direction by the five-judge bench that ordered the West Bengal government to take immediate action to pay compensation to the victims of crime as per the state’s policy.

The counsel representing the state sought time to inform the court on the issue.

“This apparently shows total casual attitude in a serious matter,” the bench observed.

The division bench also noted that Justice Manjula Chellur, retired chief justice of Calcutta High Court, who had been requested by this court to monitor the working of the SIT, had not been taken into confidence in the state government’s decision to spare the services of 10 additional IPS officers to assist the SIT comprising three senior IPS officers of West Bengal cadre.

The bench further said the report submitted by the SIT does not reflect any request by it to spare the services of the 10 IPS officers and certain other officers to assist it for different zones of the state and the West Bengal government had taken the decision on its own.

“It further transpires from the report that certain advocates have been appointed as legal advisers to advise on various issues with each of the zonal teams. Even for that purpose, Justice Chellur has not been taken into confidence,” the division bench said.

The bench said the status report of the CBI states that 40 FIRs have been filed by it so far in connection with post-poll violence cases and charge sheets have been filed in seven cases after investigation.

A five-judge bench presided by the Acting Chief Justice had on August 19 ordered a CBI investigation into all cases of alleged murder and crime against women regarding rape or attempt to rape in post-poll violence in West Bengal.

Passing judgment in PILs seeking independent probe in alleged violence in the state following the state assembly elections, the bench had ordered the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising three IPS officers of West Bengal cadre for monitoring probe in all other cases.

The bench, also comprising justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar directed that both the investigations will be monitored by the high court and ordered the CBI and the SIT to submit their status report before it within six weeks from date.

The bench had ordered the West Bengal government to pay compensation to the victims of crime as per the policy of the state, after due verification and directed that the amount would be directly transferred to their bank accounts.

It had directed that the matter would be placed for hearing before a division bench on October 4 for further hearing.

A fact-finding committee into allegations of human rights violations in post-poll violence formed by the NHRC chairman on the order of the high court had on July 13 submitted its final report to the five-judge bench.