The Bengal Government has appealed against the judgement of the five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court which had given the investigation of the post poll violence in the state to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Special Investigation Team (SIT). This judgement had been given by the Calcutta High Court after relying on the observations of the National Human Rights Commission. The Calcutta High Court, while hearing a bunch of petitions for unbiased investigation in the post poll violence, had directed the National Human Rights Commission to form a committee, investigate independently and submit a report to the court. It had been done because the petitions were filed to seek justice in the first of its kind of post poll violence where goons of the ruling party had leached violent attacks on people who had voted for the opposition parties and the Hindu community in particular. This violence was indirectly supported by the government in such a way that over 60% of the complaints of the said violence were not even lodged as FIRs by the state police. Violence was so drastic that many people from the Hindu community and members of opposition parties had to flee from their state and were forced to take shelter in the neighbouring state of Assam.
After thorough hearing and going in depth of the investigation done by the National Human Rights Commission, the High Court gave a verdict against the state government. The High Court refused to consider the arguments of the State Government wherein they alleged a bias by the National Human Rights Commission which is currently headed by the retired Justice of Supreme Court Shri Arun Kumar Mishra. Apart from being the eighth Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India and a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, he is also the former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court and the Rajasthan High Court. Thus, his credibility or credibility of the commission under his nose cannot be questioned. While appealing, the West Bengal government has sought a stay order on the judgement of the Calcutta High Court thereby seeking the permission to investigate the matter by themselves. It is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will overturn the judgement of the Calcutta High Court since the five judge bench of the latter has passed the verdict unanimously by carefully evaluating every point in consideration and the data in hand. It would have been much better for the state government to act maturely and not attacking their opponents in the first place since democracy is all about support and dissent. The Apex Court, while dismissing the appeal, must put a cost on the state government to even file an appeal in a case where the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution got infringed in such a brutal manner. This will send a strong message to parties and governments who use the state machinery to allow violence against their opponents.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com