M A I N   N E W S

Contempt of Court
Kolkata DGP, 5 others jailed
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, February 2
The Calcutta High Court today punished DGP A.B. Vohra and five other senior state government officials, including the DM and the SP of Jalpaiguri with six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 each on the charges of contempt of court for not executing the court's orders. The orders were issued in connection with setting up of a separate Circuit Bench in North Bengal.

Another 10 persons, mostly government officials in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri were also convicted on similar charges.

The Division Bench, comprising the acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharyya and Justice K.K. Prasad, today convicted these senior officials for their failure in maintaining peace and normalcy in Jalpgaiuri district and for ensuring the setting of the Circuit Bench there as decided by the government.

The unusual judgement which surprised Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharyya and the state government, would be challenged in the Supreme Court, said state judicial minister Rabilal Moitra.

He said the advocate general Balai Roy had been asked to proceed accordingly and file a writ petition in the Supreme Court some time next week. The high court granted a three-week time to these officials to make further appeal to the court.

As soon as the high court's order reached the Writers Buildings in the afternoon, the Chief Minister hurriedly called a meeting in which the judicial minister, besides the chief secretary, the home secretary, the judicial secretary and the advocate general, among others, were present. The DGP also attended the meeting.

The Circuit Bench issue had been the cause of agitations by the ruling Left Front and the opposition parties during the past two years. While a section, demanded that the Circuit Bench be set up at Siliguri, others favoured Jalpaiguri to be the right location.

Political parties, lawyers, government officials and the general public were all divided over the selection of the site of the Circuit Bench.

But a judicial committee set up by the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court finally suggested that Jalpaiguri be the right location for the Circuit Bench which the state government also accepted.

However, still the decision so far could be implemented following the prolonged agitation which was disturbing the normal work at the district court.

As the judicial work at the Jalpaiguri court collapsed the district judge formally lodged a complaint with the Chief Justice and sought his intervention for restoring normalcy in the court. Similar complaint was also lodged with the state government.

The high court then directed the district authorities and the DGP to take appropriate steps to ensure normal working atmosphere at the Jalpaiguri court.



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