Alleged post-poll violence: HC pulls up Bengal govt for not compensating victims
The Calcutta high court on Monday pulled up the West Bengal government for its failure in compensating the victims of the alleged post-poll violence in the state this year even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a status report of its investigation into the violence. “This shows a total casual attitude of the State in a serious matter,” said a division bench of acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj
A five-judge high court bench in August ordered separate probes by the CBI and a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police into the alleged violence. The court also directed the government to process the compensation for the victims of the violence.
The bench said to date, the CBI has filed 40 first information reports and charge sheets related to seven of the cases.
The CBI on Monday filed the first status report of the probe that the high court is monitoring.
The bench also objected to the state government’s move to appoint 10 Indian Police Service officers to assist the SIT. The government told the court the officers were appointed after due consultation with the SIT members even though it failed to produce the minutes of the meeting in this regard. “No minutes of the meeting of SIT is on record,” the bench said. It added Manjula Chellur, a former chief justice of the high court who would head the SIT, was not taken into confidence before the officers were appointed.
The matter will be heard next on November 8.
Allegations of post-poll violence started pouring from across the state after the assembly election results were declared in May. In June, the court directed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee to examine cases of alleged violence. The seven-member panel submitted its final report on July 13 slamming the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government while recommending a CBI probe and trials in the cases of violence outside the state. The NHRC report said at least 1,934 police complaints were lodged with the state police between May 2 and June 20. They included 29 complaints related to murder, 12 to rape and sexual assault, and 940 of loot and arson. The committee received around 1,979 reports involving 15,000 alleged victims.