West Bengal, India: On March 13, the Calcutta High Court stayed further proceedings against BJP state president for West Bengal Sukanta Majumdar and others for six weeks concerning the FIR filed against him over tweets on the Vande Bharat stone pelting case. Justice Bibek Chaudhari noted that the complainant Tirtha Ghosh lodged a complaint with the Officer-in-Charge, Beliaghata Police Station, on January 6.
The complainant alleged that certain Twitter posts were in nature to cause incitement and agitation in the minds of a particular community. Furthermore, the complainant alleged that the Twitter posts were “made in such a manner to damage law and order situation of the State and to destroy the personal image of the Chief Minister of the State.”
The Court noted, “At the outset, this Court does not find prima facie ingredients of offence for which the petitioners were booked.” However, the Court sought a response from the Advocate General on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s tweet and said, “If the previous Twitters made by petitioner no. 2 attracts penal provision this Court wants to know as to whether the post made in the Twitter handle of the Chief Minister of the West Bengal also consists of prima facie ingredient of promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religious, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony as contemplated in Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code. In the instant case, it is between the residents of Bengal and Bihar.”
Furthermore, the Court said that “If that be so, such post is also liable to be looked into as an offence. On this issue, this Court likes to hear the learned Advocate General of the State.”
The Court referred to Mamata Banerjee’s statement which read, “This has not happened in Bengal. This has happened in Bihar. People in Bihar might be aggrieved. Even if people in Bihar have committed such an incident you cannot insult them. I feel that they also have the right to receive, just because BJP is not there that does not mean that they should not receive. And what is Vande Bharat?.. An old train has been coloured and refurbished except for the engine. So many old trains from here have been withdrawn. During my tenure, I would give at least 100 trains in a year. But in the last 11 years, not one new train has been given except this one. The people who insult Bengal, I condemn them and we will make arrangements to tackle fake news,” on the Vande Bharat Express stone pelting incident, Live Law reported.
The Court was hearing a plea to quash the case against TV Today Network’s journalists for certain tweets made in connection to the incident of stone pelting, breaking, and smashing Vande Bharat Express’ window panes on January 2 and 3.