The Calcutta High Court on Friday refused to stay the immunity of the Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari against future FIRs granted earlier by a single-judge bench of the same court.
On Thursday, the West Bengal government first approached the Supreme Court with the plea to vacate the immunity granted to Adhikari on December 8, by Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha.
When the Supreme Court refused to vacate the order and asked the state government to approach the Calcutta High Court again in the matter, the state government on Thursday approached the division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj with a verbal plea and also appealed for a fast-track hearing in the matter.
The state government pleaded for the vacation of the immunity to file an FIR against Adhikari in connection with a stampede, killing three persons at a blanket-distribution programme in Asansol on December 14, where the Leader of Opposition was present.
The division bench accepted the verbal plea.
However, even after that, on Friday, the state government moved the single-judge bench of Justice Jay Sengupta with the same plea on vacating the FIR immunity given by Justice Mantha’s bench.
Justice Sengupta’s bench, after hearing the matter on Friday afternoon, refused to vacate the immunity enjoyed by the Leader of Opposition and pass any interim order on this count.
On Friday, when the state government’s counsel told the court that an FIR against Adhikari was necessary in connection with the December 14 stampede, Justice Sengupta questioned whether the state police had conducted any preliminary investigation in the matter.
Justice Sengupta also questioned whether post-mortem had been done in the matter and also pointed out that these things are necessary before filing an FIR.
“Already a plea in the same matter is pending in the division bench of the Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice. In that case what will this bench do in this case?” Justice Sengupta questioned.
Thereafter, he refused to vacate the immunity enjoyed by the Leader of Opposition and advised the state government to approach the appropriate division bench in the matter.