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SC declines, for now, stay on Calcutta HC’s order transferring Ram Navami violence cases to NIA, Abhishek Manu Singhvi calls violence ‘regular’, not fit for NIA investigation

Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "NIA has a clear bar. There cannot be NIA just because you say there might have been a Bomb...all this is done in a PIL, by an active member of the BJP." He also took objection to the High Court entertaining what he called a politically motivated PIL filed by opposition leader Suvendhu Adhikari.

On Friday, May 19th, 2023, the Supreme Court rejected the request to suspend the Calcutta High Court’s order to transfer the investigation of the Ram Navami violence cases to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Supreme Court expressed its unwillingness to stay the order and decided to postpone the hearing of the petition filed by the State of West Bengal against the High Court’s directive until after the summer vacation.

Representing the State Government, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act should not be applied to regular cases of violence unless they directly impact national security or sovereignty. He further contended that the Calcutta High Court’s order was based on the assumption that the violence involved the use of bombs and explosives, thereby invoking the Explosives Act, which is classified as a scheduled offence under the NIA Act.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “NIA has a clear bar. There cannot be NIA just because you say there might have been a Bomb…all this is done in a PIL, by an active member of the BJP.” He also took objection to the High Court entertaining what he called a politically motivated PIL filed by opposition leader Suvendhu Adhikari. Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan also appeared on behalf of the State in the proceedings.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate PS Patwalia, representing Adhikari, informed the bench that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has officially registered the First Information Reports (FIRs). Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta submitted, “We, after registration of FIR, we wrote to them that give us papers of investigation. They write a letter to us saying we’re before SC. So please clarify my lords…”

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said, “We’re simply going to take this after vacation. We’re not staying the order of the HC.”

The bench of Acting Chief Justice T. S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya at the Calcutta High Court, while transferring the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), highlighted that a minimum of twelve violent incidents involving the use of weapons, arms, ammunition, artillery, and explosives had occurred in the State of Bengal since April 2021. These incidents resulted in significant loss of life and damage to public properties. The High Court observed in its decision on 27th April 2023 that the use of explosives and bomb-throwing had unfortunately become common occurrences during rallies and religious ceremonies. Furthermore, the Court noted that it had previously issued more than eight orders transferring investigations to the NIA due to concerns that the state police had downplayed the true gravity of the situation.

On 30th March 2023, Ram Navami processions were attacked and violence erupted in various places across the country. There were reports of stone-pelting and violence in many cities of the country. Ram Navami or the birth anniversary of Lord Rama is an auspicious occasion in the Hindu calendar year. On that day, Hindus seek blessings from Lord Rama, provide food to the needy, perform rituals, take out processions, and so on. But Islamists have attacked these Ram Navami processions at many places in the country, as part of growing attacks on Hindu festivals.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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