Saturday, March 20, 2010

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) organized a People's Tribunal on Torture (PTT)

West Bengal, India

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) organized a People's Tribunal on Torture (PTT) at Moulali, Kolkata on 9th and 10th of June, 2008 a programme as part of the project, ‘National Project on Preventing Torture in India (NPPTI)’, which was supported by European Union & FNSt. MASUM was responsible for implementing the project’s programme in West Bengal. Nearly 1200 victims and their families were present in the public tribunal. As many as 82 victims of torture narrated their plight before the panel members consisting of illustrious persons of national repute.

Mr. Henri Tiphagne, National Director of NPPTI, & Ms. Sunila Singh, NPO of NPPTI remained present in the tribunal with their active participation. The panelists were :

1. Ms. Pamela Philipose, Executive Director, Women Feature Service
2. Mr. Ashok Chakravarti, Former Senior Director, NHRC
3. Dr. Satyajit Ash, M.D., Psychiatrist, MON Foundation
4. Dr. Sreemantee Chaudhuri, Psychiatrist
5. Prof. (Dr.) A. K. Gupta, Head of Forensic Medicine, Calcutta Medical College
6. Justice Malay Sengupta, Ex. Chief Justice Sikkim High Court
7. Dr. Mohini Giri, Former Chairperson, National Commission for
Women. (Padma Bhushan)
8. (Prof.) Dr. Tapas Bhattacharjya
9. Dr. Hiralal Konar
10. Prof. Ruchira Goswami, NUJS
11. Mr. Ashutosh Mukherjee, ex-District & Sessions Judge
The controversy of conducting an open public tribunal on torture was started rolling as the police from Detective Department, Kolkata visited the office of MASUM before the tribunal on 7.6.2008. The Kolkata Police asked about the legality of conducting such a tribunal but refused to accept our written answer on their queries.

Incidentally, useless controversy on the legality of the tribunal went on at the instigation of Kolkata police and a police case had been registered at the behest of the Detective Department of Police, Kolkata at Taltolla Police Station (Taltala Police Station case no. 134/2008 dated 9.6.2008) under sections 170 (Personating a public officer)/179 (refusing to answer public servant authorized to question)/ 229 (Personation of a juror or assessor) and 120B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, against Mr. Kirity Roy and others of MASUM.

It is to be mentioned here that the Kolkata Police supported the activities of the tribunal by sending pilot cars for few members of the panel. Till end of the

We challenged the constitutional validity of initiation of the said criminal proceeding and prayed for quashing the criminal proceeding by filing a writ petition (Kirity Roy versus State of West Bengal & others vide WP No. 25022(W) of 2008) in the High Court, Calcutta.

On 26th of August, 2009 Justice Sanjib Banerjee, High Court, Calcutta heard the Writ Petition and dismissed the petition on the ground that police investigation is necessary to find out whether the petitioner(Kirity Roy) wishes to organize a parallel judiciary or not.

Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the aforesaid order, we filed an appeal (MAT 1219/2009) along with a Stay Application (C.A.N. 10511/2009) in the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Ranjan Shah and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh.

On 10.3.2010, the matter was fixed for hearing before the said Division Bench as Item no.2. Mr. Sadhan Roy Chowdhury, advocate of the High Court, Calcutta pleaded on behalf of the petitioner (Kirity Roy). He was assisted by Mr. Somnath Roy Chowdhury, and Mr. Debashish Banerjee, practicing advocates of the High Court, Calcutta. The Respondent/State also presented its case in the court. After an extensive hearing the Division Bench passed necessary orders. Though we yet to receive the certified copy of the order but we have been informed by our advocates Mr. Sadhan Roy Chowdhury, Mr. Somnath Roy Chowdhury and Mr. Debashish Banerjee, the gist of the order passed in the appeal is mentioned herein below:-
“This is to inform you that the above application for stay in the above appeal was taken up on 10/03/2010 by the Hon’ble Division Bench comprised of the Hon’ble Chief Justice sitting with the Hon’ble Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose.

After hearing the Learned Advocates at length Their Lordships have been pleased to pass an order staying operation of the judgement and order under appeal till the disposal of the appeal. Their Lordhsips have further been pleased to pass necessary orders for expeditious disposal of the Criminal Case initiated against the Appellant, initiation of which is the subject matter of the writ Petition, and directing the State Respondents to file a report in this regard within a month.” Their Lordships were further been pleased to pass an order fixing the final hearing of the Appeal on 08/04/2010”.

On 11th March, some of the newspapers carried misleading report on the order passed by the High Court on the subject. However, it is evident from the above facts that nothing has yet been finalised. Hence, we are sending this update on the matter so as to clear up the propagated delusion.

Report By:
Kirity Roy

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