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Sandeshkhali protest row: Supreme Court stays Lok Sabha Privilege committee proceedings against West Bengal officials, initiated over complaint by BJP MP Majumdar

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by News Desk

Supreme court on Monday has stayed the Lok Sabha Privilege Committee proceedings against the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and three other officials of the State of West Bengal initiated on the complaint of BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar.

Mr Majumdar has alleged that he had been mistreated by the Bengal police on his way towards Sandeshkhali in the state on February 13 and 14. He further alleged that there was a lathi charge against him and that the police intentionally delayed his medical treatment.

The writ petition challenging the proceedings was filed by Bengal Chief Secretary Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika, the North 24 Parganas district magistrate Sharad Kumar Dwivedi, the Bengal Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar, the Basirhat Superintendent of Police, Dr Hossain Mehedi Rehman, and the Basirhat Additional Superintendent of Police, Partha Ghosh.

the bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud took the matter as an urgent hearing.

As per the Live Law reports, Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the officials, submitted that Mr Majumdar violated the curfew imposed in the Sandeshkhali region under section 144 CrPC and gathered along with the other BJP supporters. They further contended that Parliamentary Privileges will not extend to political activities and that the Lok Sabha Secretariat has acted beyond its jurisdiction by issuing notices to the officials.

 “Privileges are available to a member only when he is obstructed while discharging his duties as a member of Parliament while he is attending the house. Privilege is not available when he is not performing any Parliamentary duties. It is not available for political activity. You go there (Sandeshkhali), violate a 144 order and then you complain that it is a breach of privilege.” Mr. Sibal stated.

Senior Advocate Devasish Bharukha representing Lok Sabha Secretariat told the court that the officials were not summoned as accused rather they were sent notice to gather facts and evidence, as per the rules of the committee. “Once the Privileges Committee gets a notice, it calls people who might be relevant for the purposes of oral evidence. That is the first stage. This is the first sitting. This is a threshold stage,” Bharukha stated.

Thus, the court passed an interim order putting a stay on the proceedings. “There shall be a stay of further proceedings in pursuance of Office Memoranda dated 15 February 2024 issued to the petitioners.” The order stated.

The court further listed the matter on 22 March 2024.

Written by Shagun Behal 

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