The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal government to take necessary steps for ensuring law and order in the state in view of a nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions on Wednesday.
The high court was hearing a PIL moved by a practising lawyer seeking a direction to the state government to make sure that there is no disruption of normal life during the strike.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee also directed the administration to ensure that examinations in colleges and competitive tests are not hampered owing to the strike.
Trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC along with various sectoral independent federations and associations had adopted a declaration in September last year to go on a nationwide strike on January 8.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Monday said she was all in favour of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and other issues, but her party will not resort to the “cheap politics” of strikes.
Alleging widespread violence and deaths during the West Bengal panchayat polls today, a lawyer showed videos to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court and prayed for summoning the State Election Commissioner (SEC) and the state home secretary to ensure a peaceful election.
A division bench of Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee, before which the lawyer presented his mobile phone for the judges to view video clippings of the alleged violence, however, refused to summon the SEC or the home secretary.
The lawyer claimed to have recorded the video clippings from television news channels.
Refusing to entertain the verbal plea, the court told lawyer Suprodip Roy to file a petition if he wished to, incorporating the details of his claims.
Roy claimed before the bench in the afternoon that there was violence during the polls since morning, leading to the death of six persons, and prayed that the SEC and the home secretary be summoned immediately to ensure a peaceful election in the last few hours of polling.
He claimed that the violence was being perpetrated, despite the high court’s directions to the SEC and the state government to take steps to ensure a peaceful election.
The bench had, on Friday, said the SEC and state officials would be personally held liable and that they would have to pay compensation if the loss of life and property in today’s panchayat polls was higher than that in the 2013 election.