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Cal HC permits placing before it versions of alleged women victims

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Kolkata, March 7: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted permission to a petitioner to file an application/affidavit, allowing alleged victim women from Sandeshkhali to bring their grievances to the court’s attention.
Petitioner-lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal informed the division bench, which is hearing a suo motu motion and three PILs concerning alleged sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali, that 80 women victims from the area wish to join the proceedings and share their experiences.
Holding that it would be difficult to bring all the 80 women to the court, the division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam granted permission to Tibrewal to file an application/supplementary affidavit bringing on record whatever the alleged victims wish to place before this court.
The division bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, directed that the version of those victims should be properly authenticated and their identity should also be established.
It directed that in the event the affidavit of the alleged victims is in vernacular, translated copies of the same should be furnished by the petitioner. Another petitioner-lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava submitted that he is seeking transfer of investigation of the sexual assault and land grabbing cases in Sandehkhali to the CBI.
Accused Shajahan Sheikh’s lawyer submitted before the court that he wishes to bring on record his response to the averments made in the petition. Srivastava raised objection to the prayer contending that the accused has no right to be heard in a petition seeking transfer of investigation.
Holding that Srivastava’s contention is well-founded, the court granted liberty to the accused to file affidavits in the other three writ petitions – a suo motu matter and two PILs in connection with the Sandeshkhali incidents.
The court also directed the West Bengal government, the Union of India and the CBI to file their respective affidavits in connection with the matters.
All these four matters will come up for hearing again on April 4, the court directed. Amicus Curiae Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee filed a report before the court on the allegations of sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing of villagers.
Seeking protection for the witnesses who live in Sandeshkhali, senior advocate Pramit Roy submitted that since the CBI has taken over the criminal cases which have been transferred to it by the court, the central agency can contemplate a procedure for the protection of the witnesses.
It said that the state machinery should undertake confidence building measures before upcoming general elections. (PTI)

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