The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that notice be served on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung by all means possible in a PIL challenging the indefinite bandh called by the party in the Darjeeling hills. A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty directed the Darjeeling superintendent of police to serve the notice personally on Gurung or send it to his office. If any of these were not possible, the notice, along with a copy of the petition and today’s order, be pasted on the walls of Gurung’s office, it said.
The process should be videographed so as to ensure that the GJM president is represented in court in the matter, it said. The bench had on June 16 directed the West Bengal government to ensure normal life in the restive Darjeeling hills, while reiterating earlier orders of the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court declaring bandhs illegal. The court had last week directed that notice be served on Gurung, a respondent in the PIL. But the petitioner and the state advocate general told the bench that they were unable to serve the notice on Gurung.
“We have tried all means, but what we gather is the person is absconding,” Advocate General Kishore Dutta submitted. He, however, said that the option of email could not be tried as Internet services were suspended in the hills. Dutta, who wanted to file an ‘informal’ report on the losses to public and private property due to arson in Darjeeling since the violence began on June eight, was directed to do so on Wednesday next in a sealed cover.
The court had last week directed the state government to file a report on the losses and steps taken to ensure normalcy in the hills. The matter will be heard again on next Friday.