Nandigram: Bengal dumps Buddha stand
The West Bengal government on Monday did a volte face when it told the Supreme Court that Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s statement in the state assembly favouring a CBI probe into the Nandigram police firing was his “personal opinion”.
In an affidavit, the state government said “reliance placed on the CM’s statement of March 15, 2007 is misconceived and misplaced... the said statement was his (CM's) personal opinion and the same cannot be equated with consent as contemplated under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946”.
Since law and order is a state subject, the consent of the state is needed to hand over a criminal case to the CBI.
The affidavit comes in the wake of the NHRC’s indictment of the state government for facilitating the “recapture” of Nandigram by CPI-M cadres and failing to prevent the attack in the first place. It was in response to an affidavit filed by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and others, on whose petition the Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the March 14, 2007 firing. The Bengal government has challenged the HC order and its observation terming the firing as “unconstitutional”.
Association counsel Prash-ant Bhushan requested the apex court to vacate the stay on action against police officers involved in the case. Medical Service Centre counsel Sanjiv Sen also urged the court to expedite the hearing. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan adjourned the hearing for four weeks.
The Bengal government has challenged the HC’s November 16 ruling, which also ordered payment of compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the 14 people killed and Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh each to those raped and injured within a month. It maintains the HC finding on the alleged police excess was a “premature conclusion”. The SC had on December 7 refused to stay the HC order.