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SC rejects West Bengal govt’s appeal challenging HC order, paves the way for NIA probe into Ram Navami violence

"Section 6(1) and (2) cast an obligation on the police to inform the state of the occurrence of any scheduled offence. The state has to then inform the central government. Section 6(5) gives suo motu power to the central government to ask the NIA to investigate a scheduled offence," the court observed.

In a setback to the TMC government, the Supreme Court on 24th July dismissed the state’s appeal which challenged the Calcutta HC order transferring the probe in Ram Navami violence case to the NIA. The order was passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

The apex court while dictating the order ruled that the sequence of events are not in dispute. “Section 6(1) and (2) cast an obligation on the police to inform the state of the occurrence of any scheduled offence. The state has to then inform the central government. Section 6(5) gives suo motu power to the central government to ask the NIA to investigate a scheduled offence,” the court observed.

The directions of the HC in the impugned order were rendered on April 27 and following this, on May 8 the govt issued a notification exercising this suo motu power. This sequence of events is not in dispute. Hence, the NIA has exercised its jurisdiction specifically with regard to its powers under Section 6(5). The court is not called to check the veracity of the FIRs”, the bench noted.

The SC while rejecting the Mamata-govt’s appeal said it is not inclined to entertain the special leave petition (SLP) “as there is no challenge to the notification of the Central government.”

TMC MP Dola Sen reacting to the order said that the state government will follow the verdict. “…We are law-abiding citizens. We follow both High Court and Supreme Court verdicts. Supreme Court is higher (in authority), so their verdict will be followed”, Sen said.

On 27th April, the Calcutta High Court ordered an investigation by the National Investigation Agency into the violence in Howrah during Ram Navami. The court had also directed authorities to hand over all the CCTV footage and FIRs to the NIA team within two weeks.

The Mamata-led TMC government then moved Supreme Court to challenge the HC order.

The SC had in May observed that the NIA can probe when there are scheduled offences involved. Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the WB govt, said no scheduled offence was made out as the explosive used in the cases did not fall under Explosives Act.

On 16th July, the SC directed the West Bengal state and LoP Suvendu Adhikari to sit with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and conducted the exercise to establish whether all six FIRs pertaining to the Ram Navami violence in Bengal were related to the same incident or not.

The NIA had filed six FIRs more than a month ago in connection with the Ram Navami violence in the TMC-ruled state. An NIA official reportedly confirmed to a media house that case diaries are yet to be handed over to the agency despite SC’s refusal to stay the HC order to transfer the probe to NIA.

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

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