The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear next week a plea seeking directions to the Centre and the West Bengal government to prevent alleged exodus of people due to "state-sponsored" violence and constituting of a SIT to fairly investigate and take appropriate action against culprits.
A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai was told by senior advocate Pinky Anand that more than one lakh people have been displaced due to the poll-related violence in West Bengal. She told the bench that this matter required urgent listing as people are forced to leave their homes and stay in shelter homes and camps.
"Ok, we will hear the matter next week," the bench said. The plea filed by social worker Arun Mukherjee and other social workers, victim of the violence and lawyers said that they are aggrieved with the post electoral violence in West Bengal since May 2.
The plea alleged that the police and the state-sponsored goons are in cahoots because of which the police proves to be a mere spectator in the entire episode, discouraging and threatening victims from filing FIRs, non-investigation of cases, inaction in incidents where cognizable offences have been committed in presence of police authorities, non-provision of security to those facing threats to life.
It said various media platforms including social media, print and electronic media have covered the entire trail of incidents and various government organizations and autonomous institutions like National Human Rights Commission, National Commission of Women have either suo moto or on receiving of complaints from the helpless victims have taken cognizance of the matter and sent out teams to investigate the matter.
No support/assistance was offered from the Bengal government and even their security was compromised at many instances. They have reported the inaction of the police in providing protection to the women, who were attacked and threatened by hooligans and no action was taken by the police officials in this regard , the plea submitted.
The plea further said that due to the circumstances, people are internally displaced and are forced to stay in shelter homes/camps in and outside West Bengal.
The exodus of the people in West Bengal due to state-sponsored violence has posed serious humanitarian issues related to their survival, where they are forced to live in deplorable conditions, in violation of their fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it submitted.
The plea also sought formation of Commission for rehabilitation of displaced persons, compensation for loss of family members, property, and livelihood, mental and emotional agony. The petitioners sought direction to Centre to discharge its duty vested under Article 355 of the Constitution to protect the state from internal disturbance and to ensure that the government in the state is carried on, in accordance with provisions of this Constitution.
It sought direction to Centre and West Bengal chief secretary to provide immediate relief to the internally displaced persons affected due to post-poll violence by setting up camps, make provision for food, medicines, pandemic resources, and make appropriate medical facilities accessible to them in light of COVID-19 pandemic.
It said that Centre should also constitute an Inquiry Commission to assess the scale and causes of the exodus as well as direct West Bengal to provide long-term relief to the internally displaced persons affected due to post-poll violence, by making provision for their rehabilitation, compensation for loss of family members, property, livelihood, mental and emotional agony.
It also sought directions to Centre and West Bengal to set up an alternative helpline number, monitored by central forces to respond to SOS calls and also record complaints and FIRs of internally displaced persons within and outside the state of West Bengal.
The petitioners said that direction be also issued to Centre for deploying central protection forces, including armed forces, for the restoration of law and order in West Bengal and setting up a fast-track court to adjudicate matters pertaining to the prosecution of any individual or organization involved in the commission of heinous offences.