In a step that is sure to launch a new chapter of confrontation between the chairman of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), retired justice AK Ganguly, and chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, the three-member bench of the commission took suo motu cognizance after the Monday murder of a Barasat doctor, asking IG (South Bengal) to personally investigate into the continuous decline of law and order in the district town.
Apart from Ganguly, the two members of SHRC are retired justice Narayan Chandra Sil and former chief secretary Sourindranath Roy. The commission asked the IG to submit the report within four weeks. Barasat has consistently hit the headlines for more than a year with regular incidents of murder, molestation and rape.
“The full bench of the commission took suo motu cognizance of the deteriorating law and order situation in Barasat, and has asked the IG, south Bengal, to personally investigate and submit a report within four weeks,” commission joint secretary Sujoy Haldar told HT.
While it is rare for SHRC to intervene in law and order issues, former Calcutta high court justice Gorachand Dey said that the commission, as per rules, can seek such a report though it is not binding on the government.
The development assumes significance, as on August 14 chief minister Mamata Banerjee lambasted Ganguly for the Commission’s verdict asking the state government to pay a fine of R50,000 each to Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and a neighbour.
The fine was a penalty for police harassment of the two in April for e-mailing a spoof on the chief minister and railway minister Mukul Roy. The SHRC verdict was a great embarrassment for the chief minister herself who defended police action calling the duo cyber criminals.
“I brought a very good person and gave him a post. Not someone from my party, but someone a little neutral. But then what did see! Oh God, he has no clue at all! He writes as if he is the chief justice of the Supreme Court, or the President of the country! Doesn't even know what is under his powers; what his jurisdiction is,” a fuming Banerjee had said.
“From the chief secretary to the home secretary, from the DGP to the CP everyone is being summoned… When will they work if they have to appear before the commission every now and then?" Banerjee said, with an obvious reference to Ganguly in her speech in a seminar on ‘Executive Accountability to Parliament/ Legislature’ held to mark the platinum jubilee of the West Bengal Assembly.