New Delhi, July 1 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea seeking direction to the Centre to impose President’s Rule in West Bengal in view of deteriorating law and order situation due to the post-poll violence which started on May 2, the day of assembly election results.
The plea also sought direction to the Centre to deploy armed/paramilitary forces in the aid of the administrative authorities to bring normalcy in the state and to save it from internal disturbances.
Besides, the PIL has sought setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for probing the causes and reasons of post-poll violence in West Bengal.
A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notice to the Centre, West Bengal and Election Commission of India on the plea, which also sought to central and state governments to award compensation to the victims and their family members after ascertaining the nature of loss sustained by them in post-poll violence in the state.
Advocate Hari Shankar Jain — appearing for petitioners Ranjana Agnihotri, a UP based practicing lawyer and social worker Jitender Singh — said that the plea is against post-poll violence in West Bengal.
The bench said, “We are issuing notice to respondent number 1, (Union of India), respondent number-2 (West Bengal government) and Respondent number 3 (Election Commission of India).”
The bench, however, did not issue notice to respondent number 4 — Mamata Banerjee as the president of Trinamool Congress Party (TMC).
The plea filed through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain said that the PIL has been filed in extraordinary circumstances as thousands of residents of West Bengal are being terrorized, penalised and tortured by the workers of TMC for supporting the opposition party- Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) during the assembly polls.
“The petitioners are espousing the cause of thousands of citizens of West Bengal who are mostly Hindus and are being targeted by Muslims to take revenge for supporting BJP as they want to crush Hindus so that for years to come the power may remain with the party of their choice,” the plea said.
The plea sought from the court “directing the central government to exercise its power conferred by Article 355 and Article 356 keeping in view the deteriorating condition posing a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India”.
It said that soon after the declaration of assembly polls result on May 2, the TMC workers and supporters started creating chaos, unrest and setting the houses and properties of Hindus on fire, looting and plundered their belongings for the simple reason that they had supported BJP in assembly polls.
The plea said that in an attempt to create terror and disorder in the society at least 15 BJP workers/ sympathisers/supporters have lost their lives and a number of them were seriously injured.
“The government and administration remained silent spectators and no protection was provided to the victims by them.
The government, officials and the administration and the police are supporting workers of TMC, due to which the life, liberty, prestige, dignity and modesty of women are being taken away as is evident from the fact that number of persons were harmed and mercilessly murdered and no steps were taken for their safety,” the plea said.
It added that no appropriate action was taken against the culprits, due to which the life, liberty, dignity of the women and children are in peril and the future of Hindu residents is in jeopardy.
“In these circumstances, immediate intervention of the court is required and the court may issue command to the opposite parties is required and the court may issue command to the opposite parties so that the government of West Bengal functions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and in case of continued violation the government of India may be directed to take appropriate action under Article 355 and 356 of the constitution,” it said.
The plea alleged that during the assembly elections which were held in April, the TMC party had contested the polls purely “on communal basis arousing the feelings of the Muslims and appealing to them to remain united and vote for their party for their better future”.
It said that subsequently BJP made a complaint to ECI against the communal appeal made by TMC party and the poll panel failed to hold free and fair election conforming the democratic norms and failed to enforce the mandatory provision of section 123 of Representation of People Act which has to be implemented during the election.
The plea said that a seven-judge bench of the top court had in 2017, in the Abhiram Singh case, ruled that no person can be allowed to contest election by making religious appeal.
“The election commission remained a silent spectator and the provision (of RP Act) was flagrantly violated”, it said, adding that the Muslim population is about 30 per cent in West Bengal due to “illegal Bangladeshi migrants and Rohingia Muslims have been registered as voters without making any proper scrutiny and enquiry and in about 100 constituencies Muslims votes decide the fate of the candidates.
The top court is already hearing a batch of pleas related to post-poll violence in the state and seeking probe by an independent agency into the alleged killing of BJP workers and sympathisers.