A division bench of the Calcutta High Court today stayed till tomorrow the execution of a single bench order that directed registration of FIR against Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal for his insensitive comments against women and transfer of the case to CID within 72 hours.
A division bench comprising Justice Girish Gupta and Justice T Chakraborty directed that "since we are in seize of the matter, the order will not be given effect to till 2.00 PM tomorrow."
The bench adjourned hearing of the matter till tomorrow and the matter would be taken up at 10.30 am.
The day-long stay was granted after Kalyan Banerjee, a TMC MP and a senior advocate who appeared for the state challenging the single bench order, prayed for an interim injunction on Justice Dipankar Dutta's order.
He submitted that as Justice Dutta had on Monday ordered that an FIR be registered against Pal within 72 hours of posting of his order in the high court's website, a stay be granted on the order.
During the proceedings, the bench asked the counsel for the petitioner against Pal to read out the alleged utterances of Pal in public meetings and explain whether the complaint contained any cognisable offence by the MP or whether Pal has committed any cognisable offence.
Both the West Bengal government and Pal himself have moved appeals challenging Justice Dipankar Dutta's order.
Aniruddha Chatterjee, counsel for petitioner Biplab Chowdhury who had filed a complaint against the two-time MP at Nakashipara police station in Nadia district in Pal's constituency Krishnagar, submitted that the actor-turned-politician had said "he was carrying a gun."
At this, Justice Gupta said, "He is an MP, he is an honourable person, he can carry a revolver."
"A goon carrying a revolver and an MP carrying a revolver is different," Justice Gupta observed adding that merely carrying a gun cannot be an offence as it might be licensed.
The bench observed that mere intention of committing an offence is not a cognisable offence.
It observed that there were four parts to an act being construed as cognisable offence, namely intention, preparation, attempt and commission.
Chatterjee, who submitted copies of newspaper reports and compact disc (CD) containing Pal's utterances at public meetings at Chowmaha village within Nakashipara police station in Nadia, stated that Pal had also claimed to be a top gangster.
The counsel submitted that the MP also allegedly said that he would unleash his boys to rape women folk of CPI(M) activists.
Chatterjee claimed that it amounted to incitement and as such was a cognisable offence under Section 153 a (i) (hate speech) of IPC.
Justice Dutta, passing his verdict on a petition seeking CID investigation into Pal's comments against women and other opposition party supporters at election rallies, had also made caustic observations about the state's law and order situation and the role of police.
He had directed that the high court would monitor the probe in view of the West Bengal government's stand that the complaint did not disclose any cognisable offence.
Justice Dutta had in his order directed Inspector- in-charge of Nakashipara Police Station in Nadia district to treat the July one complaint by petitioner Biplab Chowdhury, a resident of Pal's constituency Krishnagar in Nadia district, as an FIR.
The court also directed the state DGP to transfer the case to the DIG, CID, within 72 hours of the order being uploaded in the high court's website.
Justice Dutta directed the CID authorities to file a status report on progress of investigation on September one.
Pal, whose controversial remarks against women had sparked an outrage, on July one tendered an unconditional apology saying that in making such comments he has let down his constituency and the people of Bengal.
"Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign (2014 Low Sabha polls) have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them," Pal said in a written apology after a huge controversy broke out following airing of the videos of his outbursts at public meetings in his constituency by television channels.