Decks were cleared for action against police personnel involved in the March 2007 Nandigram firing as the Supreme Court Friday permitted the West Bengal government to withdraw its appeal against a Calcutta High Court order holding the police action unwarranted.
The state was permitted to withdrew the appeal that was filed during the tenure of previous Left Front government headed by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in the wake of high court holding the police action “unconstitutional” and “wholly unjustified”.
Permission to withdraw the appeal was made during a hearing by Justice C.K.Prasad in his chamber.
The state government told the court that it was not interested in pursing the appeal and pleaded to be permitted to withdraw it in the “interest of justice”.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already completed the probe but refrained from going ahead with the filing of case against the erring police officials, including those of administration, because the state government’s appeal was pending before the apex court.
A move by a senior officer of the state police to pursue the appeal by the State government was not allowed. Senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the police officer, told the court that he wanted to pursue the appeal as his client was affected by the present state government’s move to withdraw it.
As a consequence of the withdrawal of the appeal, the indictment of the State police personnel by the high court would survive uncontested. The high court had struck down the West Bengal Police rule that permitted it to shoot directly at crowds instead of first firing warning shots in the air.
Police had fired upon the protesters agitating against the acquisition of their lands in Nandigram on March 14, 2007, killing 14 people.
The high court by its Nov 16, 2007, order directed the CBI to investigate the matter and proceed against the officials and police personnel who acted in breach of law. The Left Front government had then moved the apex court challenging the high court order.