Court seeks right panel’s findings on Toon-gate professor

Kolkata, July 30 (IANS) Questioning the police action, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the West Bengal government to submit the recommendations of the state human rights panel regarding a professor who was arrested for circulating emails mocking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi directed the state government to submit the findings of the state Human Rights Commission which had recommended a compensation of Rs.50,000 each to Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta for their 2012 arrest.

Describing the incident as a “case of police excess and high handedness,” the Commission then headed by Justice (retd.) A.K. Ganguly in August 13, 2012, had recommended the state government to compensate the duo and initiate departmental proceedings against police officers who arrested them.

With the Mamata Banerjee led state government turning down the commission’s recommendations, Mahapatra had moved the bench of Justice Dipankar Datta which in March this year upheld the commission’s verdict.

The state government subsequently filed an appeal against the order.

“The court today (on Thursday) directed the state government to submit the findings of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, within two weeks. The court also questioned the motive of police to arrest Mahapatra,” said the professor’s counsel.

The case will come up for hearing after two weeks.

The collage of cartoons by Mahapatra had the photographs of Banerjee and then union minister Mukul Roy with some dialogues of Satyajit Ray’s detective masterpiece “Sonar Kella”, showing the duo discussing how to get rid of party leader Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced by the chief minister to give up the railways portfolio.

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