The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by the West Bengal government challenging the transfer of investigation of the violence that erupted in the state during Ram Navami festivities to the National Investigation Agency, Bar and Bench reported.
In its order, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra noted that the West Bengal government did not challenge the Central government’s notification by which it had ultimately taken cognisance of the issue.
“The precise contours of investigation which should be carried by the NIA [National Investigation Agency] cannot be anticipated at this stage,” the court said. “In this backdrop and in the absence of a challenge to the Central government notification, we are not entertaining the special leave petition.”
Several vehicles were set ablaze and shops were vandalised in parts of Howrah district during a clash between Hindus and Muslims during a Ram Navami procession on March 30. Videos on social media showed men throwing stones and tearing down shops as the police tried to bring the situation under control.
On March 31, another flare-up was reported in the district’s Shibpur area after a mob went on a rampage, throwing stones and attacking shops as well as vehicles.
On April 2, clashes again broke out between two groups in the Hooghly district during another Ram Navami procession organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Similar incidents of violence were also reported from Dalkhola in the North Dinajpur district.
On April 27, the Calcutta High Court ordered the National Investigation Agency to investigate the violence. Before this, the High Court had observed that the violence in the Howrah district appeared to have been planned and that there was a failure of intelligence gathering by the West Bengal police.
The court had made the observation while hearing a plea filed by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency into the violence.