West Bengal Govt Questions NHRC Panel's Credibility: SC To Hear Plea on 20 Sept

The state government's plea had argued that committee report was prepared in great haste.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>The Supreme Court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on 20 September.</p></div>

The West Bengal government on Monday, 13 September, questioned before the Supreme Court the credibility of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) panel, which examined alleged human rights violation in post-poll violence, contending that it consisted of members who are either members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or known to be closely associated with BJP.

Listing the members of the committee, which was formed to investigate the incidents of post-poll violence, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the state government, noted that a few members were close to the BJP, having ties with the party.

"Can you imagine these people have been appointed to collect the data? Is this a BJP investigating committee, my Lords?" he submitted.

As a bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose observed that if somebody had a political past and if he lands up in an official position, should the court treat him to be biased, Sibal said that the members are still uploading posts related to the BJP.

"How can the Chairman of the human rights committee appoint such members?" he asked, seeking some interim order in the meantime. However, the bench said: "Nothing will happen. We'll have it on Monday."

The state government's plea had argued that committee report was prepared in great haste, "with a pre-conceived and motivated objective and most crucially, in utter disregard of the principles of natural justice, the established principles of criminal jurisprudence". It further added that the direction transferring cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) was not in accordance with the principles laid down by the top court. It was argued that transfer of investigation of cases to the CBI and the SIT must be done in rare or exceptional cases only.

The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on 20 September and pointed out that it will go through the chart submitted by the state government.

The West Bengal government moved the top court against the Calcutta High Court order, which directed court-monitored CBI probe into the heinous cases of rape and murder during the post-poll violence in the state, after accepting the NHRC panel's recommendations.

A five-judge bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, had ordered a CBI investigation in all alleged cases of heinous crimes in West Bengal after the assembly poll results, in which the Trinamool Congress came back to power.

The state government said that the CBI has been rightly described as "caged parrot" and it cannot function independently.

(Published in an arrangement with IANS.)

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