A two-judge appeal bench of the Calcutta high court on Wednesday admitted the petition of Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal against the single-judge's order that had directed the police to register a criminal case within 72 hours against him for making offensive comments against the women during a Lok Sabha election campaign in Krishnanagar, Nadia.
Justices GC Gupta and Tapabrata Chakraborty also restrained the state police from giving effect to the single-judge order till July 31, when Pal's appeal will be heard and decided on merits.
The directive came after the appeals filed by Pal and the state said that the single judge exceeded his power by ordering registration of FIR on the basis of a written complaint given to the police.
Reading the complaint, the judges were also of the prima facie view that Pal's alleged statements did not constitute any offence under any law.
Reading single-judge's 44-page interim order, the judges said: "The court should decide a case in accordance with the law and not according to its passion or emotion."
Examining Pal's statements, the judges said that carrying a revolver itself does not constitute offence because he might have a licence for it. "Pal's claim that he was a gangster amounts to his own defamation, which does harm any other person."
On Pal's alleged statement that he would unleash his boys, who would rape the female family members of such opponents, the judges said that mere intention to do an illegal act does not constitute offence.
However, the judges will examine Pal's statements and the single-judge's order on merits on July 31.
Moving the appeal, Pal's advocate Kishore Datta and Rajdeep Majumdar told the court that his alleged statements did not constitute any offence, but the single-judge not only ordered registration of a criminal case against him but also prima facie held him guilty.
Moving the state appeal, advocate Kalyan Banerjee told the court that the high court cannot act like an officer-in-charge of the police station and direct registration of a criminal case.
"Under Section 157 of the CrPC, only the officer-in-charge of the police station or his superior officer can decide whether the complaint discloses commission of any cognisable offence and order registration of a case." Banerjee said.