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Allegations Of Post Poll Violence In West Bengal Prima Facie True; State Found On A Wrong Foot: Calcutta High Court Observes

Akshita Saxena
2 July 2021 8:03 AM GMT
Allegations Of Post Poll Violence In West Bengal Prima Facie True; State Found On A Wrong Foot: Calcutta High Court Observes
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The Calcutta High Court on Thursday observed that while the West Bengal Government has constantly been on a denial mode, the 2021 Assembly elections in the state were prima facie followed by violent episodes, leading to several deaths, rampant sexual exploitation of women and children, etc. "From a perusal of the report prima facie stand taken by the petitioners is established that...

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The Calcutta High Court on Thursday observed that while the West Bengal Government has constantly been on a denial mode, the 2021 Assembly elections in the state were prima facie followed by violent episodes, leading to several deaths, rampant sexual exploitation of women and children, etc.

"From a perusal of the report prima facie stand taken by the petitioners is 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,"

A 5-Judge Bench of ACJ Rajesh Bindal and Justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar noted that in the violence, a number of persons were killed, many suffered sexual violence and grievous injuries and even minor girls were not spared. "They have been brutally assaulted sexually," the remarked.

It further noted that many properties were damaged during the incident, people were forced to leave their homes and even migrate to neighbouring states.

However, till date the state has not been able to create an atmosphere that could build confidence of the sufferers to return back to their homes or carry on their occupation. "People are afraid to even disclose their identity to apprehending threat to their life and property," the Bench said.

The Court has also taken note of the apathy inhibited by the Police authorities that failed to register the victims' complaints, even against heinous crimes. "It shows there is more to conceal than to reveal."

It added that the State kept 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 order stated,

"The complaints of most of them were not recorded by the police or cross cases were forced against them. In some cases of heinous crimes the complaints were registered only after this Court had taken cognizance of the matter. 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 has now directed the Police authorities 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," adds the order.

The state is further directed to place before the NHRC 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.

Directions have also been issued for proper treatment of the injured and supply of rations to the displaced, even if they have lost their ration cards.

"Many of the persons injured in the violence are facing problems in their treatment also, with no support from the State. Some are facing difficulty in getting their ration as their ration cards have been taken been taken away the goons," the order stated.


The Court made these observation on the basis of an interim report submitted by the NHRC committee. The Court said that it was not making the report public, as the matter is still under investigation. The interim report is therefore kept in a sealed cover with the Registrar General of the Court.

The case will be next heard on July 13.

Also Read: West Bengal Post-Poll Violence : Calcutta High Court Directs Second Autopsy Of Slain BJP Member; Asks Police To Register FIRs On NHRC Recommendations

Case Title: Susmita Saha Dutta v. Union of India & Ors. (and other connected matters) 

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