Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Plea By WB Minister Against Stay On Registration Of FIR Against Suvendhu Adhikari
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea by West Bengal Minister Birbaha Hansda challenging the Calcutta High Court's order which banned registration of fresh FIRs against BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari without prior permission of the court.
A Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha asked the Trinamool Congress leader to approach the Calcutta High Court, which is seized of a similar matter and is scheduled to hear it on January 10.
"The High Court is seized of the matter and is scheduled to hear the matter on January 10. We grant liberty to the petitioners to move the high court and pursue the matter there. It is not appropriate for this court to exercise its jurisdiction in the case," the Bench said.
At the outset, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Hansda told the court about the high court order on not registering any fresh FIR against Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.
"The state government has filed a separate appeal against the high court order and therefore we request that this matter be taken along with the state government's appeal," Sibal said.
Senior Advocate PS Patwalia, appearing for the BJP leader, said FIRs were being lodged every day against Adhikari and it was in this background that the high court had passed the order.
He said on one day Adhikari's rivals wanted to lodge an FIR over a stampede at a public event and on the other for some other reasons.
"It is all political. The petitioner has not disclosed that she is an active member of Trinamool Congress and a cabinet minister in the West Bengal government. This court has on December 15 refused to entertain the plea for urgent hearing of the appeal of the state government against the High Court's order," he said.
Patwalia said the Apex Court had asked the state government to move the Calcutta High Court which has now listed the matter for hearing on January 10.
The bench said it will allow the petitioner to move the high court to pursue the remedy there, especially when the high court is seized of the matter.
On December 15 last year, the Court had declined to entertain the West Bengal government's plea seeking registration of an FIR against Adhikari and others in connection with a stampede at a blanket distribution programme in Paschim Bardhaman district.
The Court had asked the state government to approach the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court instead with its plea seeking modification of an earlier order of a single judge of the High Court granting a "blanket stay" on registration of any FIR against Adhikari.
The state government had said an appeal against the High Court's order was filed in the Apex Court as the High Court judge concerned was unavailable and away in Port Blair for judicial work.
Recently, the Calcutta High Court had taken note of the submissions of Adhikari and stayed nearly 17 FIRs against him lodged by the state police. The High Court had directed the state police not to register any new FIR against Adhikari without its prior permission.
The state government has moved the Apex Court for modification of this order of the High Court. Three people were killed and five seriously injured on December 14 in a stampede at a blanket distribution programme in Paschim Bardhaman district organised by BJP leaders including Adhikari. The stampede occurred when people rushed towards the dais in an attempt to get blankets after Adhikari had left the venue.
With PTI inputs