Calcutta HC raps Bengal govt for denying employment benefits to cop

Kolkata: The High Court has rapped the West Bengal government for failing to implement an order it passed 28 years ago on restoring employment benefits to a reinstated police constable.

A division bench of the high court directed the state Advocate General in the presence of the West Bengal Home secretary that it has to retrieve relevant records of Hasibar Rahaman, who has since retired from service, by August 13, when the matter will come up for hearing again.

The bench observed that it is a matter of regret that the state government is “showing thumb” to a judgement of the high court and sitting tight over it for years in settling the petitioner’s seniority and arrears of salary.

Rahaman was appointed as constable in the State Armed Police (SAP) 11th Battalion in June 1981, but was discharged from service in October 1982, following a showcause on a pending criminal case against him which he had allegedly suppressed.

Following his acquittal in the criminal case, Rahaman moved the high court, which set aside his discharge on May 31, 1990 and directed the SAP to reinstate him as well as treating him to be on duty for the entire period from the date of discharge to the date of reinstatement.

The court had also directed that Rahaman would be entitled to all employment benefits during the period and arrears of his salary would be cleared within four weeks of communication of the order.

A division bench comprising Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar, while hearing Rahaman’s petition earlier this week, noted that though he was reinstated in February 1991, neither his seniority was determined nor his arrears of salary were paid.

The court asked the Home secretary to be present before it on June 6 with all records to show a review petition of the order is pending before it in connection with the 1990 order, as claimed by the state lawyer before the division bench.

On June 6, the state Advocate General Kishore Dutta, representing Home secretary Atri Bhattacharya who was present in court, prayed for time to find out the relevant documents since it was a very old matter.

The state has claimed that a review petition against the order had been filed in 1991, but was unable to produce records.

The petitioner Rahaman had also moved the State Administrative Tribunal in 2014 seeking fixation of his seniority and to get his arrears, but the application had been disposed of by SAT declining relief to him.

Challenging the SAT order of 2017, Rahaman moved the division bench and prayed for direction to the state for compliance of the 1990 order of the high court.

The division bench granted the state time till August 13 to find out records.

Calcutta CAT bench head alleges phone tapping

CATJustice Pratap Kumar Ray, a retired Calcutta High Court judge and current head of the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) Calcutta bench, has complained to the home secretary that his mobile phone is being tapped.

Ray, while hearing a petition by former IPS officer Nazrul Islam on February 03, had annulled the promotion of five West Bengal IPS officers to the rank of director general of police (DGP) including the existing head of the state police, GMP Reddy.

While the CAT order was overturned by the Calcutta High Court, the Mamata Banerjee government on March 25 moved the high court against the CAT bench comprising Ray and PK Basu alleging it had passed “biased orders”.

“I use this number to contact so many dignitaries including the CAT chairman. But of late whenever I call I hear a sound. It seems my conversations are being recorded. So I have written to the union home secretary,” Ray told a news agency.

Ray is planning to approach the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“Though I don’t remember, but it seems my phone is being tapped ever since the CAT order (in Islam’s case) and there is a likelihood the surveillance has increased after Monday when the case against me was filed.”

“I am discussing the matter with the CAT chairman. Once it is confirmed that my phone has been tapped, I will approach the CBI and lodge a formal police complaint,” said Ray.


Pinki MMS issue: court asks government to file affidavit

The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to submit an affidavit within two weeks in response to a petition on the issue of athlete Pinki Pramanik’s mistreatment by the police and Pinki MMs issue. Pramanik’s gender has come into question following allegations of rape against her.

 A Division Bench comprising Justices J. N. Patel and Justice Sambuddha Chakrabarti heard the matter. The court has also directed the State to produce the case diary on the day of next hearing.

 The petition was filed against the harassment and humiliation that Ms. Pramanik has been subjected to since her arrest.

 Bharati Mutsuddi, a former member of the West Bengal Women’s Commission who appeared on behalf of the petitioners, said Ms. Pramanik was “publicly humiliated” and was “suffering immensely” because of the manner in which investigations were being carried out.

 “She has been kept in a men’s prison and was escorted by male policemen,” Ms. Mutsuddi said.

 MMS clip

 Ms. Mutsuddi also raised the Pinki MMS  issue that appears to have been taken during one of the gender tests conducted on Ms. Pramanik.

 The court has said the petitioners were free to lodge a complaint with the police against the circulation of the Pinki MMS issue, which has gone viral on the Internet.

 Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra said he had tried to raise the issue in the House, but was not allowed to do so as the matter was sub judice.

 “The police and the administration were very prompt in arresting Pinki, whose sex is yet to be determined. But the way she has been treated is definitely a violation of human rights and several organisations are protesting this,” Dr. Mishra told journalists.

 Sportspersons protest

 During the day, nearly 25 sportspersons organised a protest at the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club.

 “We, as sportspersons, feel humiliated that way police are maltreating her and the administration is keeping quiet,” said Bula Chowdhury, a swimmer of international repute.

 “It is disgraceful that in a State where a woman is the Chief Minister, a woman is being subjected to such torture merely on the basis of a suspicion,” said Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, an Asian Games gold medallist and a former Member of Parliament.

 “In the 2006 Doha Asian Games where athlete Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of her medal because she failed the gender test, nothing was said about Pinki, who had won the gold in the same tournament,” she said.