In a move that startled both political leaders and legal experts, the state government on Tuesday decided to challenge the Calcutta High Court order directing the CID to probe into the rape remark of Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul in Choumaha village on June 29.
A single-judge Bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta ordered the CID on Monday to take over the investigation into Paul’s remarks where he allegedly threatened to let loose his “boys to rape women of CPM workers”, and submit a report on or before September 1 before the HC.
“We are going to file an appeal against the order before a Division bench,’’ Minister of law and health Chandrima Bhattacharya said. Earlier this month, two lawyers —Shamit Sanyal and Biplab Chaudhury —had filed a petition, after which the court asked the police to register an FIR against Paul. The court, while taking umbrage at the MP’s remark, wondered how a lawmaker could have made such comments.
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The state government’s decision to file an appeal drew sharp reaction from opposition parties, even as lawyers expressed dismay and chagrin, saying it amounted to “supporting the stand” of its MP in which he propagated the message of venom and vulgarity.
“I have never seen such brazenness. This chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) is a blot on West Bengal. She seems to be supporting the threat of her party MP of killing CPM people and raping their women. She is now giving licence to her party people to commit those heinous crimes,’’ said West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is an MP from Berhampore.
Echoed Arunabha Ghosh, Congress leader and an eminent lawyer: “It was Paul who should have filed the appeal instead of the state government…(whose action) means it supports his statement,’’ Ghosh told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, Paul’s counsel Rajdeep Majumdar has reportedly said they would file an appeal against the order.
The erring MP had earlier tendered an “unconditional apology” to the party upon which the chief minister had remarked that the “matter ended there”.
Meanwhile, Debashish Saha, counsel for Sanyal, said that he would weigh the options of filing a PIL (against the government’s decision), while Subrata Mukherjee, counsel for Chaudhury, said if needed, he would go to Supreme Court to seek redressal.
TMC MLA, MP ‘welcome’ order against Tapas Paul
In a differing stand from the state government and the party they represent, former state cabinet minister Noor-e-Alam Choudhury and his wife Mumtaz Sanghamitra Choudhury, a TMC MP, have welcomed Calcutta High Court’s order directing Nakashipara police station in Nadia district to lodge an FIR against TMC MP Tapas Paul for his rape remark.
Both Choudhury, who is an MLA in the party, and Mumtaz, a doctor-academic, on Tuesday termed Paul’s comments as “undesirable and unwarranted.”
Choudhury, who was dropped from the state council of ministers a couple of months ago, hailed the judgment.” I welcome the order of the High Court. The government has to comply with it until a higher court sets aside or annuls the order.
The retired Justice of Calcutta HC added: “I personally know Justice Dipankar Dutta who has always worked with dignity.” The observation comes even as the state government prepares to contest Justice Dutta’s order against Paul.
Mumtaz Sanghamitra Choudhury, MP from Burdwan-Durgapur, said: “Under whatever circumstances he made the comments, I feel they were unwarranted and undesirable from an MP.”