Attack on Biplab Deb’s house: Tripura High Court disposes of suo motu PIL

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The Tripura High Court disposed of a Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to the attack on the residence of Biplab Kumar Deb, the former Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha MP.

This is a matter relating to a news item published on January 4, 2023 in local newspapers with regard to attacking the residence of Biplab Kumar Deb at Jamjuri, Udaipur, South Tripura.

The gist of the news item were that on 03.01.2023 when the annual rituals commemorating the death anniversary of Deb’s father was going on, a group of CPIM assailants ransacked and damaged a vehicle and two-wheelers which were parked near Deb’s house. There was an advocate and some priests from outside State who came to attend the ceremony and perform rituals. The attack sparked chaos and tension among the common people who were well aware that the death anniversary function would be held at Deb’s house on the given date. It was assumed the miscreants decided to attack Deb’s house in a planned manner to scare people and create disturbances in the area.

The court took suo motu cognizance of the matter and directed the Secretary, Department of Home, Government of Tripura to file a reply on that report. As per direction of the High Court, an affidavit-in-reply has been filed by the Secretary, Home Department, Government of Tripura.

S. S. Dey, Advocate General, submitted that in connection with these incidents, several cases were registered at Kakraban Police Station on written complaints and one case was registered suo motu. During the investigation, one person was arrested. On the basis of evidence, further investigation of cases are going on, including with regard to damaging and setting fire of one fish feed shop and a sweet shop at the place of occurrence.

Dey assured the court that the investigations are being looked after by the SDPO himself and it will be expeditiously investigated and will submit chargesheet or Final Report in accordance with law. It was media reports and there were clashes between two rival political groups. Nobody will be spared and they will not be allowed to go scot-free. He further submitted that neither the house of the particular person was attacked nor the rituals in anyway got hampered. Finally, he prayed for closing the PIL.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice T. Amarnath Goud and Justice Arindham Lodh however expressed its concern on the incident and the manner in which it has occurred.

“It is unrealistic when a person of former Chief Minister and presently Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) with “Z Plus” category security, and when the programme is well informed the security arrangements, sensitizing of threat perception, law and order situation needs to be reviewed,” observed the High Court.

But in this present scenario, the Court noted that the police department could have been more diligent. “Such incidents would give scope for a citizen to comment upon the competence of the police department.”

In view of the above, the court directed the Home Secretary to hand over the responsibility of these cases to Superintendent of Police having jurisdiction for investigation and to file appropriate reports in accordance with law before competent court and authority.

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