Toongate row: Calcutta HC upholds compensation for Odisha-born professor

Kolkata, March 10:

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday upheld the West Bengal Human Rights Commission’s recommendation to pay compensation to Odisha-born Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra who was arrested in 2012 for circulating e-mails mocking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Pic Courtesy:
Pic Courtesy:

Mahapatra had moved to the bench of Justice Dipankar Datta after the Banerjee government in May 2013, turned down the commission’s recommendation to compensate Mahapatra Rs.50,000 contending that there was not any human rights violation in the case.

Upholding the commission’s recommendation, Justice Datta directed the state government to pay the compensation within 30 days from the receipt of his order. He also upheld the panel’s decision to initiate a departmental inquiry against two police officers who had arrested Mahapatra.

The court also directed the state government to pay Rs.50,000 each to Mahapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta towards legal expenses.

The chemistry professor along with Sengupta was arrested in 2012 for circulating e-mails mocking Banerjee and former railway minister Mukul Roy.

The collage of cartoons by Mahapatra had the photographs of Banerjee and 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.

Describing the incident as a “case of police excess and high handedness”, the commission then headed by Justice A.K. Ganguly August 13, 2012 had recommended that Mahapatra and Sengupta be given a compensation of Rs.50,000 each for the manner they were arrested and detained for a non-cognizable offence.

The panel had also recommended initiating departmental proceedings against two police officers of east Jadavpur police station for affecting the arrests.

Both Mahapatra and Ganguly welcomed the judgment. IANS

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