Calcutta HC Issues Directions For Rehabilitation of Victims of Post Poll Violence

Priyanka Tebriwal, BJP leader from West Bengal filed PIL before the Calcutta High Court alleging that more than 200 people were forced to leave their houses because of the post-poll violence. The 200 people are now not being allowed to return to their homes. She alleged that they are being threatened to be killed if they come anywhere close to their houses. She also alleged that the Police are also not entertaining the complaints of the victims of the post-poll violence.  

Through the PIL she sought from Court to issue directions to the Police to give protection to these people and ensure that they are able to live safely in their own houses.   

State’s reply:

Mr. Kishore Dutta, learned Advocate General, appearing for the state, denied the allegations of the petitioner. He submitted that the 200 men about which the petitioner is talking about are either away from home for their occupational purposes or haven’t been able to return because of lockdown restrictions. He also stated that 39 men have already returned to their homes.

Court’s Observation:

Considering the counter-contentions made by the parties, the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal opined that there is a need for an independent committee to look into the matter.

Consequently, it has been directed by the bench to form a 3 member committee comprising of an officer each nominated by the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and the West Bengal State Human Rights Commission, and the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority.

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The court directed the victims of post-poll violence who allegedly were not being allowed to return to their homes to contact on official email id of West Bengal State Legal Services Authority (wbstatelegal@gmail.com). The West Bengal State Legal Services will then forward the information received to the appointed committee.

The committee has been directed to coordinate with the local police stations and ensure that the aforesaid persons are allowed to go back to their houses and submit a report before the Court.

Importantly the Court also observed that

“No person can be forced to remain away from his/her house because of threat to life after Assembly Polls are over. They have the right to live in their houses peacefully. It is the duty of the State to ensure that law and order situation is maintained so that the persons, as alleged by Ms. Priyanka Tibrewal, are allowed to go back to their houses.”

Conclusion:

While concluding the Court observed that

“It shall be the duty of the local police to ensure that all the aforesaid persons when reinstated back in their houses are allowed to live peacefully and that they don’t face any threat to their life, liberty, and property. In case of any untoward incident, the local police will be responsible if they fail to maintain peace, law, and order in the area.”

The matter is kept for further hearing on 4th June. The appointed committee has been directed to submit its report on 4th June. 

Story by Harshwardhan Pawar – Intern

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