The Supreme Court is set to hear tomorrow a PIL seeking transfer of investigation into the alleged large-scale violence against women in Sandeshkhali in West Bengal to the CBI or a SIT.

Pertinently, when the plea was mentioned on February 16, 2024 before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud responding to the mentioning of the case for urgent listing, had said that the Court shouldn't be "pressurized".

A bench comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih will hear the matter tomorrow.

The plea seeks seeks investigation into allegations of land-grabbing and systemic sexual exploitation of women in the Sandeshkhali village by local Trinamool Congress leaders.

The plea also seeks transfer of the probe and subsequent trial outside the state of West Bengal.

In the plea filed by Petitioner in Person, AOR Alakh Alok Srivastava, while citing particular instances of violence, termed the situation "axiomatic" as there were serious allegations against the local leaders of the ruling party of the State, sexually assaulting various helpless women of the village – Sandeshkhali. The plea also states that there are even more serious allegations against the local police of the State being complicit with the said leaders of the ruling party.

The petition was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra.
The plea seeks the following directions:

- to transfer the investigation of the alleged sexual assault of women of village Sandeshkhali, Basirhat, from West Bengal Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation or to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) situated outside the state of West Bengal, preferably at Delhi, under monitoring of the Supreme Court;

-to form a Committee of three retired Judges of the High Courts, in line with the committee formed in Manipur atrocity cases (Dinganglung Gangmei Vs. Mutum Churamani Meetei & Ors, 2023 INSC 698), in order to enquire into the nature of violence against women that occurred in the village;

-to the Respondents to grant compensation to the aforesaid victims of the sexual assault of the village;

-to the State of West Bengal to initiate stringent disciplinary action as well as penal action against the erring policemen.

Earlier, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had taken cognizance of a distressing incident that reportedly occurred in Sandeshkhali, involving violence against a child. The NCPCR had written a letter to the District Magistrate of North 24-Parganas seeking an Action Taken Report about the incident within 48 hours.

The National Commission Women had issued a statement saying that testimonies of victims indicate widespread fear and systematic abuse (physical and sexual violence) by police officers and members of the Trinamool Congress, at Sandeshkhali.

The Calcutta High Court had taken suo moto cognizance of reported occurrences of sexual assaults against women in Sandeshkhali, North 24 Parganas, and illicit transfer of tribal lands.

Cause Title: Alakh Alok Srivastava v. The State Of West Bengal And Ors.