HC gives Bengal govt 'last opportunity' to file affidavit on NHRC post-poll violence report
A five-judge bench hearing a clutch of PILs alleging that people were subjected to assault, made to flee homes and property was destroyed as a result of post-poll violence in Bengal, directed that the matter will be taken up for hearing again on July 28.
The bench, taking note of a request by the counsel for the state to grant further time for filing response to the report given by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said that on the last date of hearing time was granted, but no affidavit was filed.
''Last opportunity is granted to file affidavit, if any, on or before July 26, 2021,'' the bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar, said.
It also refused a prayer of the state for supply of a copy of the Annexure-I to the report.
''We do not find that there is any requirement to supply the same as it contains the name of the victims of sexual violence. Entire report shall be supplied to the investigating officer/agency, which will investigate the matter,'' the court said.
The seven-member committee, which submitted its report before the high court on July 13, recommended that investigation in grievous offences like murder and rape be handed over to the CBI, and these cases should be tried outside the state.
Appearing for one of the respondents, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed there were irregularities in the NHRC report and that it contained allegations of crime that preceded the date of declaration of West Bengal assembly election results on May 2.
He also alleged that the report smacked of political consideration.
Representing one of the petitioners, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani submitted that the NHRC report reflected the true law and order situation in West Bengal.
He urged the bench, presided by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, to hand over investigation into heinous crimes like murder and rape to an independent investigating agency for an impartial probe.
The NHRC, in its report, had also talked about ''retributive violence'' by supporters of the ruling party against those of the main opposition party.
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