SC asks Bengal govt to approach HC for registering FIR against Adhikari in stampede case

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain a plea mentioned by the West Bengal government counsel for registration of an FIR against BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari in connection with a stampede at a blanket distribution event in a district in the state.

The West Bengal government wanted the high court order of blanket stay on registration of further FIRs to be modified.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha. The state government moved the apex court saying that the Calcutta High Court has passed a blanket order barring the registration of FIRs against Adhikari without its prior permission.

At least three persons, including a child, were killed and eight others were severely injured in a stampede at a blanket distribution centre at the industrial township of Asansol in West Bengal’s West Burdwan district on Wednesday evening.

The chief guest at the function was Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari. Local BJP leader and Asansol Municipal Corporation’s former Mayor Jitendra Tiwrai was also present on the occasion. The stampede happened after Adhikari left the spot which witnessed an assembly of around 5,000 persons.

The high court stayed over 17 FIRs registered against Adhikari and passed an order restraining the state government from registering fresh FIRs against him.

Singhvi submitted that the high court judge who passed the blanket stay direction on lodging FIR against Adhikari was away in Port Blair for judicial work and the state government could not seek modification of the order. He added that the state government could not investigate the deaths due to its inability to register an FIR against Adhikari.

The top court said the state government can move before the chief justice of Calcutta High Court to alter the blanket stay. The bench said even if the single judge is not available, the petitioner has the remedy of moving the chief justice of the high court for directions. Singhvi sought liberty to withdraw the plea before the top court and to move before the high court. The bench allowed the plea to be withdrawn.

20221215-133203

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