Calcutta High Court refuses to recall order directing NHRC to investigate post-poll violence complaints

Kriti Agrawal – 

The Calcutta High Court refused to reverse its June 18 judgement instructing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to form a committee to investigate complaints filed by people who were displaced as a result of post-election violence in West Bengal.

The order was issued after the State failed to gain the Court’s trust and it saw no reason to recall, amend, or stay its operation, according to the five-judge bench considering the case.

The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice IP Mukerji, Justice Harish Tandon, Justice Soumen Sen, and Justice Subrata Talukdar.

ACJ Bindal made an oral remark that, “We had to approach the NHRC because there were complaints that the police were not taking action. You have not recorded a single complaint you have received. This Court does not have faith in your actions in this matter.”

The Bench asked State’s lawyer, Advocate General Kishore Datta, “We’ve just requested that the NHRC submit a report on the current situation. Allow them to handle it. What’s the harm in that?”

It further stated that the West Bengal government may provide its submissions as well as its actions to the NHRC-appointed Committee.

The State had petitioned the High Court, claiming that it had not been served a copy of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority’s report on displaced person rehabilitation, which formed the foundation of the June 18 order.

The Court was further taken aback by the fact that the NHRC has received over 500 complaints while the State asserts that its State Human Rights Commission has received none.

It stated that the procedures are fact-finding in nature and that the order does not need to be recalled.

The Union Government’s Additional Solicitor General, YJ Dastoor, further remarked that the Court has just directed the NHRC to file a report, which has no bearing on state governance.

Further, he argued that, if this Court delays the injunction, it effectively gives the State leverage.

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