Bharat Express

Supreme Court Refused To Entertain PIL Seeking Probe In Sandeshkhali Case

Supreme Court has advised the petitioner to seek relief from the Calcutta High Court, given that the court has the authority to for Special Investigative Team.

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to consider a public interest litigation (PIL) petition that asked for an investigation into the violence in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali by the Special Investigative Team (SIT) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Comparison between Manipur and Sandeshkhali

Alakh Alok Srivastava, the petitioner, was also asked by a bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan not to draw comparisons between the violence in Sandeshkhali and the riots that occurred in Manipur. This came after the petitioner brought up the Supreme Court’s worries about sexual assault of women in Manipur. “Please do not compare with what happened in Manipur to what happened here. Please,” Justice Nagarathna said.

Supreme Court directs towards Calcutta High Court

The petitioner may seek relief from the Calcutta High Court, the court said. After that, Srivastava decided to withdraw his plea, and the court gave him permission to file an appeal with the High Court. “This plea is dismissed as withdrawn with liberty reserved to approach High Court,” the bench said in its order.

Srivastava underlined during the hearing that the Calcutta High Court was unable to investigate the case because of the prayers in the plea. He claimed that officers from other States would need to be involved in order to conduct a proper investigation.

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Cognizance from Calcutta court

On the other hand, Justice Nagarathna disagreed and emphasized that High Courts possess the authority to form a SIT comprising officers from other States.  In his own remarks, Justice Bhuyan emphasized that the Calcutta High Court has already given the case its attention.

Srivastava went on to discuss the challenges the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was facing as a result of reported attacks on its staff in West Bengal. “There is a TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan. ED is probing him and when ED went there, all of them were attacked. Even for ED, it is difficult to conduct trial there,” he said.

He went on to say that women in Sandeshkhali were subjected to equal oppression and had been accused of gang rape. To prevent numerous proceedings before various courts, the Court stressed that the Calcutta High Court must handle the case. After that, Srivastava retracted the argument and left open an appeal to the Calcutta High Court.