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“What is the urgency? Why not wait a week?” Calcutta HC grants West Bengal govt more time to file affidavit to NHRC report

While the Court made it clear during the hearing that no further extension will be given, the advocates representing the petitioners objected to the extra week given to the West Bengal government.

Advocates appearing for West Bengal post-poll violence petitioners today took strong objections to Calcutta High Court’s order giving time to the state government to file its reply. The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted time to the West Bengal government till July 31 to submit its supplementary affidavit in response to the report of the Committee of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the violence in the state.

While the Court made it clear during the hearing that no further extension will be given, the advocates representing the petitioners objected to the extra week given to the West Bengal government. 

Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal appearing for one of the petitioners vehemently opposed the Court’s sluggish approach in the West Bengal post-poll case. Tibrewal’s arguments came after the Court could not understand the need for urgency in the case.

Tibrewal contested that the victims were being heckled into taking back their complaints due to delay in legal action. “State is using many tactics to delay the proceedings without paying heed to (the) plight of victims,” she argued. 

Elaborating further, Tibrewal said, “The victims will end up withdrawing their complaints if the matter is further delayed. There is also a continuance of violence in West Bengal.”

“On last occassion, they (State of WB) were curious to find identities of Victims! They continue to harass rape and sexual assault victims & they have been pressurised to take back their complaints, hold flags of TMC. How long can they hold their courage?” questioned Tibrewal. 

To this, the Bench asked if there was an FIR filed in this matter to which Tibrewal answered in negative.

“If your lordships think that people can be hung on trees and still the matters can wait, I have nothing to say,” concluded Tibrewal.

Taking Tibrewal’s objection forward, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani appearing for another petitioner contended, “Your Lordships know that extension of time leads to the disappearance of evidence. The police is complicit in this matter”.

He also argued that the state was given enough time to file a comprehensive response to the NHRC report and if the state requires more time, a reasonable cause must be shown. 

The NHRC Committee wanted to apprise the Bench of subsequent developments and new cases, however, the same was dismissed stating ‘it was not on the arguments today’.

Closing the argument, the Bench ordered, “More time sought to file further reply to NHRC’s report, even though we had granted time to the state as a last and final opportunity, however, we grant another indulgence to the State to do so on or before July 31.”

The five-judge Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justices I.P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar took the required documents and reports of the deceased BJP worker Abjijit Sarkar. They also took on record the affidavit filed in response to the NHRC report by the State and a pen-drive containing the utterances of some members of the NHRC committee in public. 

The matter has been adjourned till August 02 for further arguments on behalf of the NHRC.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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