Sandeshkhali row: SC stays Lok Sabha panel’s proceedings against Bengal officials

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the summons issued by Lok Sabha Privilege Committee to West Bengal chief secretary and other top officials in connection with a complaint filed by BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar alleging “misconduct, brutality and life-threatening injuries to him” during protests in the Sandeshkhali region.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud delivered the interim order while issuing notice on a writ petition filed by Chief Secretary Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika, Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar, and three other officials.

The petition challenges the jurisdiction of the Lok Sabha Privilege Committee and argues that parliamentary privileges do not extend to political activities.

The petition has been filed by Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika, Sharad Kumar Dwivedi (District Magistrate, North 24 Parganas District), Rajeev Kumar, Dr. Hossain Mehedi Rehman (Superintendent of Police, Basirhat, North 24 Parganas District) and Partha Ghosh (Additional SP, Basirhat, North 24 Parganas District).

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the officials, argued that the complaint of police atrocities by Majumdar was false and that videos showed BJP supporters attacking police officials. They contended that the officials were not even present at the scene.

In response, Senior Advocate Devasish Bharukha, representing the Lok Sabha Secretariat, clarified that the officials were not summoned as accused and that the notices were issued to ascertain facts.

The Supreme Court, while issuing notice returnable within four weeks, stayed further proceedings based on the notices issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat against the state officials.

Last Thursday, Majumdar fell sick after he was caught in the midst of the scuffle between the cops and the BJP supporters protesting over the alleged sexual harassment and violence against women at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district. Majumdar had to be hospitalised also.

Reacting to the judgment, BJP spokesman in West Bengal Samik Bhattacharya said that the state government and the ruling party have nothing to rejoice over the development. “The matter has been stayed and not quashed. There will be hearing in the matter in the coming days,” he said.

IANS

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