The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the West Bengal Government and state police on a petition by Delhi-based social worker Arun Mukherjee and 4 others, alleging mass exodus of lakhs of people, including women and children, as a result of the post-poll violence across the state.
A vacation Bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Bhushan Gavai agreed to hear the matter in the week beginning June 7. It wanted response by that date from the state government and police on the allegation of inaction by the state authorities in curbing the violence.
The plea accused the police of shielding the perpetrators alleged to be workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress and threatening the victims to withdraw complaints.
The court added as parties the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Commission for Women (NCW) and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) as also the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes on the request of senior advocate Pinky Anand appearing for petitioners. She told SC the first three had visited the victims and prepared reports on the trauma suffered by them.
Lead petitioner Mukherjee, who runs a social organisation catering to welfare of Bengalis across India, got distress calls from the affected families in the state. Fearing for life, many families left the state leaving homes and livelihood behind. The displaced families were settled in Assam camps.
Plea to increase vacation benches of apex court
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president and senior advocate Vikas Singh on Tuesday wrote to CJI NV Ramana to increase the number of vacation benches and category of matters they can hear and restore the system of oral mentioning. “Today’s cause list also surprisingly states that no oral mentioning will be allowed whereas this has never been a practice of this court to forbid mentioning before vacation benches,” Singh wrote. The SCBA is a body of the lawyers practising in the apex court.
Noting he has been practising in the Supreme Court for more than 30 years, Singh wrote the practice being followed for hearing matters during the break has always been that a Vacation Judge/Bench exercised powers in respect of all special benches as well as hearing a particular matter if a case for urgency was made out and some urgent orders were required to be passed.