The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday quashed the prohibitory order in Singur, which was imposed to prevent agitations against acquisition of lands for Tata Motors.
This could open the floodgates of a series of agitations, and indeed Mamata Banerjee has sounded her intent to launch one.
Judge Dipankar Dutta held the state authorities guilty of abusing their power and violating citizens’ rights. He said the subdivisonal police officer sent a recommendation on February 5 but Sub-divisional magistrate passed the order the previous day.
“Sub-divisional magistrate of Chandernagore, by imposing prohibitory order on February 4, abused his powers for extraneous considerations. The order was pre-determined and an act of executive highhandedness, which unreasonably restricted the citizens’ rights to free movement. Therefore, the prohibitory order is quashed.”
The ruling came on a writ petition filed by Krishi Jamin Bachao Committee challenging the prohibitory order in Singur. Petitioners were represented by Kalyan Bandyopadhyay and Mintu Goswami.
“Prohibitory order had been imposed to save the interest of Tata, and not the general public,” Banerjee said.
Additional state advocate general Nisith Adhikary said Section 144 was issued to prevent damage caused to fencing on WBIDC land. The judge rejected the claim.
Mamata Banerjee was jubilant. She said now Singur would witness a series of blazing agitations. The Krishi Jamin Bachao Committee would hold a rally at Singur on February 17 to celebrate the withdrawal of Section 144.
“The judgment will stop the CM from behaving arrogantly and the high-handed manner in which he was treating us and preventing us from going to Singur, ” Mamata said.
“We have won the first round. The second round is about farmers getting back the lands forcibly taken from them. We will win that too,” she added.
Home Secretary, Prasadranjan Ray has asserted that the High Court judgment on the imposition of Section 144 in Singur delivered on Wednesday has been due to ‘some technical flaws at the administrative level’ in the State government’s promulgation of the prohibitory order.
Speaking to reporters at the Writers’ Buildings, Ray stated that the government has not misused the prohibitory orders in any manner. The government had no other alternative than to clamp down Section 144 in view of the prevailing situation then and in order to prevent any violent incidents in Singur, he argued.
Ray said that the current situation in Singur is being closely reviewed and that legal opinions were now being sought on whether or not Section 144 could be imposed again if there was a necessity for it.
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