Bengal Post-Poll Violence: SC Judge Rescues From Hearing

Justice Indira Banerjee had on Friday rescued from hearing a plea filed by kin of two BJP workers, who died during the post-poll violence in West Bengal

Bengal Post-Poll Violence: SC Judge Rescues From Hearing

Supreme Court Judge Justice Indira Banerjee on Friday withdrew herself from hearing a plea related to the West Bengal post-poll violence.

When a plea filed by kin of two BJP workers, who lost their lives during the violence that followed the Assembly polls in May came up for hearing, Justice Banerjee rescued herself and said, “I have some difficulty in hearing this matter. Let this matter be listed before another bench.”

The vacation bench also comprising Justice M R Shah ordered, “List the matter before another bench in which Justice Banerjee is not part”.

The family of the deceased approached the SC seeking a court monitored probe and transfer of cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Violence erupted in West Bengal during the first week of May immediately after the Assembly election results were declared in the state. TMC and BJP supporters clashed in different parts of the state, which left many people dead and many more displaced.

On May 18, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the plea sought by the kin of two BJP workers, who died during the clashes. The apex court had sought responses from Centre and West Bengal government on the plea filed by Biswajit Sarkar, whose elder brother was killed and co-petitioner Swaranalata Adhikari, whose husband was killed in poll related violence.

In their plea, they contended that it is a very serious case and the state government has not taken any action into the brutal killing of their kin, which happened on the day of counting of votes on May 2.

In their plea, they said that this is a matter which requires probe by an agency like the CBI or a SIT under court’s supervision, as the state police has not been taking any action despite a complaint being made.

The plea, which was filed by advocate Sarad Kumar Singhania, alleged that Abhijit Sarkar, was killed on May 2, by a mob comprising 20 supporters of the All India Trinamool Congress party. It said that the mob entered the house of Biswajit Sarkar, dragged his elder brother (Abhijit) and killed him in front of his mother and other family members.

“Petitioner No.1 (Biswajit Sarkar), his mother who was also molested are the eye witnesses of this gruesome murder, while Petitioner No.2 (Swaranalata Adhikari) is the widow of Haran Adhikari, who was a local booth worker at Booth No.199A at Sonarpur Dakshin Vidhan Sabha.

He was attacked with bricks, sticks, spades, and shovels at his home and brutally killed in the presence of his 80-year-old father, who was also kicked,” the plea said.

It said that the Petitioners, who are both victims and eye witnesses have been constrained to invoke the extraordinary writ jurisdiction of this Court seeking fair investigation by a Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the murders and large scale incidents of violence unleashed at the behest of a particular political party.

The plea said that the court should also examine “the failure of the State administration which while identifying itself with this vengeful cause of the ruling political party in the State has chosen to turn a blind eye leaving victims of these crimes remediless as the entire genocidal attacks are part of a well thought of political design of the party in power to take political revenge after declaration of results of assembly elections on May 2, 2021”.

It further said that there are series of such well planned attacks with the active connivance, knowledge, support and at times participation of the local police under the instructions of the State Government.

The plea also sought direction to monitor the investigation, trial and the progress of criminal cases emanating from the incident and attacks occurring in the aftermath of the assembly elections in the state of West Bengal.

It also sought transfer of two murder cases registered in police station Narkeldanga and Sonarpur to be transferred to CBI or such another SIT as may be appointed by this court.

(With PTI inputs)