The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain the West Bengal government’s appeal against the Calcutta High Court’s decision to protect Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari from arrest in cases registered against him after he switched from Trinamool Congress (TMC) to BJP.
The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna while refusing to interfere with High Court’s order which restrained police from taking any coercive action against him said it is open for the state of West Bengal to file an affidavit before the High Court and seek an expeditious hearing. Representing the State of West Bengal, senior advocate Kalyan Bandopadhyay, termed the High Court order as unprecedented as it granted protection in all cases, present and future.
Bandopadhyay contended that High Court jumped to a conclusion while taking a prima facie view that there was an attempt at implicating and victimizing Adhikari by filing the criminal cases against him.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Adhikari, argued that the hearing before the single-judge bench of the High Court went on for about a month before the order was passed and it seems “uncharitable” to say that the judge after one month of hearing jumped to a conclusion.
Adhikari was accused of hooliganism, gathering an unlawful assembly and violation of COVID-19 guidelines, amongst other things. The state government had claimed that merely because the complaints were made after he made the switch from TMC to BJP, they cannot be said to be malicious.
Adhikari had earlier moved the High Court alleging that the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government was abusing the police machinery by registering FIRs against him in four different police stations.
The victimization and harassment by the West Bengal government had started immediately after he changed political allegiance in December 2020, BJP leader Adhikari had said.
The High Court in September this year while granting interim protection to Adhikari had observed that the West Bengal government was attempting to implicate and victimize Adhikari by filing criminal cases against him.
Adhikari was accused of hooliganism, gathering an unlawful assembly and violation of COVID-19 guidelines, amongst other things.