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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Supreme Court to hear plea seeking President’s Rule in Bengal

A bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notice to the Centre, West Bengal and the Election Commission of India.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 2, 2021 5:17:34 am
Maratha quotaThe Supreme Court of India (File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea seeking directions to the Centre to impose President’s Rule in West Bengal over alleged incidents of post-poll violence in the state.

A bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notice to the Centre, West Bengal and the Election Commission of India.

The plea filed by advocate Ranjana Agnihotri also sought directions to deploy armed paramilitary forces to bring normalcy in the state and set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the causes and reasons of post-poll violence in West Bengal.

Agnihotri, a lawyer practising in Uttar Pradesh, had in October last year filed a plea in a Mathura court seeking the removal of the Shahi Idgah mosque — situated near the Shri Krishna temple complex — in which she had described herself as the “next friend” of Shri Krishna Lala Virajman. The court dismissed the plea.

Under Article 356 of the Constitution, President’s rule can be imposed in “case of failure of constitutional machinery in State” if the President, on receipt of a report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Advocate Hari Shankar Jain — appearing for petitioners Ranjana Agnihotri, a UP based practicing lawyer and social worker Jitender Singh — said that the plea is against post-poll violence in West Bengal.

The bench said, “We are issuing notice to respondent number 1, (Union of India), respondent number-2 (West Bengal government) and Respondent number 3 (Election Commission of India).”

The bench, however, did not issue notice to respondent number 4 — Mamata Banerjee as the president of Trinamool Congress Party (TMC).

The plea filed through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain said that the PIL has been filed in extraordinary circumstances as thousands of residents of West Bengal are being terrorized, penalised and tortured by the workers of TMC for supporting the opposition party- Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) during the assembly polls.

“The petitioners are espousing the cause of thousands of citizens of West Bengal who are mostly Hindus and are being targeted by Muslims to take revenge for supporting BJP as they want to crush Hindus so that for years to come the power may remain with the party of their choice,” the plea said.

The plea sought from the court “directing the central government to exercise its power conferred by Article 355 and Article 356 keeping in view the deteriorating condition posing a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India”.

It said that soon after the declaration of assembly polls result on May 2, the TMC workers and supporters started creating chaos, unrest and setting the houses and properties of Hindus on fire, looting and plundered their belongings for the simple reason that they had supported BJP in assembly polls.

The plea said that in an attempt to create terror and disorder in the society at least 15 BJP workers/ sympathisers/supporters have lost their lives and a number of them were seriously injured.

“The government and administration remained silent spectators and no protection was provided to the victims by them. The government, officials and the administration and the police are supporting workers of TMC, due to which the life, liberty, prestige, dignity and modesty of women are being taken away as is evident from the fact that number of persons were harmed and mercilessly murdered and no steps were taken for their safety,” the plea said.

It added that no appropriate action was taken against the culprits, due to which the life, liberty, dignity of the women and children are in peril and the future of Hindu residents is in jeopardy.

“In these circumstances, immediate intervention of the court is required and the court may issue command to the opposite parties is required and the court may issue command to the opposite parties so that the government of West Bengal functions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and in case of continued violation the government of India may be directed to take appropriate action under Article 355 and 356 of the constitution,” it said.

The plea alleged that during the assembly elections which were held in April, the TMC party had contested the polls purely “on communal basis arousing the feelings of the Muslims and appealing to them to remain united and vote for their party for their better future”.

It said that subsequently BJP made a complaint to ECI against the communal appeal made by TMC party and the poll panel failed to hold free and fair election conforming the democratic norms and failed to enforce the mandatory provision of section 123 of Representation of People Act which has to be implemented during the election.

The National Human Rights Commission on June 21 set up an eight-member committee headed by NHRC member Rajiv Jain in compliance with a Calcutta High Court direction to investigate incidents of post-poll violence in West Bengal.

The HC decision came on a plea filed by BJP candidate Priyanka Tibrewal, who lost in the Assembly polls from Entally in Kolkata, alleging that a number of people had fled their homes to save their life.

With inputs from PTI

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