'Report politically motivated; homilies on independence of NHRC laughable'
Kolkata: The report submitted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the post-poll violence that transpired in West Bengal after the 2021 Assembly elections is politically motivated, the Mamata Banerjee government told the Calcutta High Court on Thursday.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing the Bengal government, told the five-judge Bench hearing the case, that the State should be given adequate time to respond to the NHRC report.
"NHRC report is a politically motivated report. The homilies on independence of NHRC is laughable," Singhvi submitted.
The Court eventually granted the State government time till July 26 to file its response to the NHRC report and posted the case for further hearing on July 28.
"Request has been made by State to give them further time to file response to NHRC report. One last opportunity is granted to file affidavit of any before July 26. Matter to be taken up on July 28 at 11 am," the Court ordered.
A seven-member committee of the NHRC had visited Bengal to hold an inquiry into allegations of widespread political violence in the state after the TMC had swept to power for the third consecutive time after inflicting a resounding defeat on the BJP.
The NHRC probe itself came pursuant to an order passed by the Calcutta High Court, on June 18, directing the Chairperson of NHRC to constitute a committee to examine complaints by persons displaced by post-poll violence.
The order was passed on a bunch of petitions alleging that many people from the Opposition party were subject to violence by TMC workers.
The NHRC after the investigation had submitted its report accusing the ruling TMC of turning affairs into the "law of ruler", instead of "rule of law".
When the case before the High Court was heard on Thursday, NHRC counsel Subir Sanyal maintained that the allegations should be probed by an independent agency without any intervention from the state government.
The Court, however, did not approve of the NHRC taking such a stand.
"You (NHRC) should not tell how to go forward based in report. That is for petitioner and State to argue. You (NHRC) are not a contesting party. You are not allowing others to make submissions," the Bench remarked.
Refraining to comment on the issue as the matter is sub-judice, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the NHRC of submitting a report that was prepared by the BJP containing fabricated stories — like fake videos — to the Court in connection with the issue. Moreover, it had been made public before the Court gave its verdict.
She also claimed that her party workers were killed in those areas where BJP has won seats in the Assembly polls.
"There was no post-poll violence in the state. The incidents had taken place when the law and order situation was under the Election Commission's jurisdiction. I had taken oath on May 5 and made necessary changes in the administrative set-up as all officers were changed by the EC. BJP killed people wherever they have won," Banerjee said.
She further maintained: "They have posted a BJP's man as a member of the NHRC. If needed, check his details on social media. The report was given as per the directions received from the BJP party office. It was made public before the Court gave its order in the matter. Fabricated incidents have been highlighted in the report, including circulation of fake videos."