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No rule of law in Bengal, says court

The Calcutta HC observes that it appears from the recent disturbance in Nandigram that there is no constitutional government in Bengal, reports Deepak Prahladka.

kolkata Updated: Nov 14, 2007 03:16 IST

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday observed that it appears from the recent disturbance in Nandigram that there is no constitutional government in Bengal.

Justices G.C. Gupta and Tapan Mukherjee made this statement after state advocate B.R. Patranobis said that 1500 CPI(M) cadres, ousted from Nandigram 11 months ago, were brought back by armed people.

“If they were ousted from their homes, what has your police had done for their restoration? This shows that a constitutional government is no longer there in Bengal,” said the judges, while admitting a PIL filed through advocates Asish Sanyal, Uttam Majumdar and Rana Mukherjee.

Taking a serious note of the PIL based on media reports on violence and massacre in Nandigram between November 1 and 11, the judges said: “There is evidence to show that the rule of law, strictly speaking, is not there.”

The judges, however, rejected the plea of army deployment in Nandigram. Holding that the state was obliged to maintain law and order, the judges directed the state home secretary, the Superintendent of Police, East Midnapore, and inspectors in charge of Nandigram and East Midnapore to restore normalcy and protect people’s life and property.

Upholding the rights of the people and the media to free movement in Indian territory, the judges said: “The state authorities shall also provide adequate force to ensure the entry of media, social workers, the team of lawyers and also their safe return.”

Taking serious note of the allegations that not a single person has been arrested for violence or mass murder, the judges directed the state to reply within two weeks why the CBI should not be directed to investigate the matter of arrest and prosecution of the guilty.

Moving the petition, Sanyal said: “Thirty villages of Nandigram are under the control of armed cadres of CPI(M), who attacked and killed unarmed people. The media and social workers were not allowed to enter the area.”

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