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Sandeshkhali: SC stays LS notices to West Bengal chief secretary, DGP on complaint of BJP MP

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the state officials, and stayed the notices issued to the state officials and fixed the plea for hearing after four weeks. The CJI's bench took the pleas of West Bengal officials as the first matter on urgent mentioning by the senior officials.

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Image: PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the notices issued by the privileges committee of the Lok Sabha Secretariat to the West Bengal chief secretary, DGP and others over a complaint of ”misconduct” filed against them by BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar.

Majumdar was hospitalised last week after BJP workers clashed with police personnel after being stopped from going to violence-hit Sandeshkhali in West Bengal.

Chief Secretary Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika, Director General of Police (DGP) Rajeev Kumar and others, including the DM and the SP of North 24 Parganas district, were summoned at 10.30 am before the privileges committee of the Lok Sabha.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the state officials, and stayed the notices issued to the state officials and fixed the plea for hearing after four weeks.

The CJI’s bench took the pleas of West Bengal officials as the first matter on urgent mentioning by the senior officials.

Parliamentary privileges are not available to an MP for political activities and can be invoked only when a lawmaker is obstructed while discharging duties as an MP while attending the House, Sibal said.

He said the prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were imposed in the Sandeshkhali area and the BJP MP and his supporters violated them.

Sibal termed the complaint of police atrocities by the MP as ”false” and said he can produce the videos showing that the political activists of the BJP leader attacked police officials.

Both the senior lawyers said the officials summoned by the Lok Sabha secretariat were not present at the place of the alleged incident.

The BJP MP had on February 15 filed the complaint and notices were issued swiftly.

”Privileges are meant to protect your work as an MP… Otherwise, there will be a breach of privileges in every case, nobody can be arrested,” Singhvi said.

The bench asked whether the notices were issued because the MP got injured.

”Video shows that he (the MP) jumps on the bonnet of a police car. His colleagues in the BJP pulled him. He is taken to the hospital by police,” one of the lawyers said.

Senior lawyer Devasish Bharukha, representing the Lok Sabha Secretariat, opposed the grant of stay by the top court, saying this is the first sitting of the privileges committee.

”They are not being accused of anything. This is a regular process. Once an MP sends a notice and the speaker thinks there is something to look into then notices are issued,” the counsel said, adding it was a ”threshold stage”.

The bench said there shall be a stay of further proceedings initiated in pursuance of the office memorandum of the Lok Sabha Secretariat of February 15.

The MP and others were stopped from entering Sandeshkhali, where women have been agitating over alleged atrocities committed against them by Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh and his aides.

Sandeshkhali, a village in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, has been witnessing protests over allegations of sexual abuse of women by a local TMC leader.

Several women in the region have accused the local Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of land-grab and sexually assaulting them under coercion.

Shajahan has been absconding after a mob, allegedly affiliated to him, attacked Enforcement Directorate officials who had gone to search his premises in connection with a corruption case.

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