The Calcutta High Courton Thursday issued show cause notice to the Director General of Police (DGP), West Bengal Manoj Malaviya and two officers of the Indian Police Service (IPS) in a contempt plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari for preventing him from visiting Netai village despite the court's specific direction to allow such visit [Suvendu Adhikari v. Manoj Malaviya, IPS].
Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya was hearing a plea by Adhikari who claimed he was stopped from entering the Netai village in Jhargram on 7 January, in contravention of the court's order of January 5.
"Since the petitioner was visibly not armed and/or did not physically threaten the alleged contemnors, there was no occasion for the police authorities to specifically prevent the petitioner from going to Netai village," the Court said.
The January 5 order stated that the petitioner, along with his security personnel, could visit Netai on January 7, 2022 and there was no impediment in doing the same.
Adhikari wanted to visit Netai to pay homage to the 9 persons killed in the Netai firing of 2011 when the State was under the Left-front rule.
However, he was not allowed into the village since the police apprehended an impending dispute between two political parties which was sought to be prevented.
The single-judge opined that there was no logic as to what prompted the police authorities to not even allow the petitioner to step foot in the area and it was evident that he was deliberately prevented.
"The allegation that a mob would have entered was entirely in the realm of conjecture and surmise," the Court further said.
This, Justice Bhattacharyya found, was contrary to the assurance given by the Advocate General as recorded on January 5 that there was no requirement for getting any permission for visiting a particular area in the State.
In fact, the order also recorded that Adhikari, and his security personnel had the right to visit any place in India, subject to legal restrictions and without violating any provision of law.
"No case of any “legal” restriction and/or violation of any law by the petitioner at the relevant juncture has been made out by the alleged contemnors," the Court said.
Therefore, it was concluded that the alleged contemnors deliberately and willfully violated the court's specific order, both in letter and spirit and issued a show cause notice.
"On the returnable date, it is ordered the alleged Contemnors-respondents aforesaid shall appear personally before this Court at 10.30 a.m. and shall not leave Court without permission," the Court directed.
The petitioner was represented by advocates Rajdeep Majumder, Moyukh Mukherjee and Aishwarya Bazaz while the opposite parties were represented by advocates Samrat Sen, Anirban Ray, Raja Saha and Debasish Ghosh.