Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde on Monday acknowledged that political parties sometimes use the Supreme Court to settle scores, The Hindu reported. He made the remark while hearing a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gaurav Bhatia seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the deaths of three party workers – Shaktipad Sarkar, Tirlochan Mahato and Dulal Kumar – in West Bengal’s Purulia district.
Bhatia, an advocate, claimed that the killings of the three party workers, with the body of Kumar found hanging from a high-tension electric post, showed how the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal dealt with its political opponents.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the West Bengal government, countered, arguing that the court should decide whether a member of a political party could really file public interest petitions. Sibal said a board of five doctors had already certified Kumar’s death as suicide. The police have already filed a closure report, he added. However, the court directed the West Bengal government to file a response within four weeks.
Replying to Sibal, Bobde said: “We are conscious that Opposition parties are also using the forum of this court. This goes for both sides.” According to India Today, he added, addressing both Sibal and Bhatia: “It will be better if both of you can go to a TV channel and settle scores there.”
There has been a spate of political killings in West Bengal over the past few years, with BJP, Trinamool Congress and Left party workers all facing the brunt.
Kumar’s body was found hanging from an electric post in June 2018. The BJP claimed that Kumar was a party worker. Kumar’s mother, however, said that they all support the Trinamool Congress.
On May 30, 2018, Trilochan Mahato was found hanging from a tree in Balarampur in West Bengal’s Purulia district. “This is for doing BJP politics from age 18,” read a message scrawled on 20-year-old Mahato’s T-shirt and on a piece of paper found near his feet. “Been trying to kill you since the vote. Failed. Today you are dead.”