Kolkata, Nov 10 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed police not to arrest former vice-chancellor of Visva-Bharati University Bidyut Chakrabarty till November 29 in five cases lodged against him.
The court noted that notices were issued to Chakrabarty by Santiniketan police station immediately after he demitted office as the vice-chancellor on November 8.
Taking up a petition by the former VC considering its exigency, a vacation bench of Justice Jay Sengupta directed police not to arrest Chakrabarty in respect of these five cases till the next date hearing on November 29.
"It is quite uncanny indeed that different officers belonging to the same police station issued notices to the petitioner to appear and be examined on the very next date of issuance of such notices," the court observed.
"One wonders whether this was a concerted effort. These facts would themselves warrant an interim interference," Justice Sengupta observed.
The judge said it is, however, encouraging to note the fair stand taken by the state before the court that it would not take any coercive measure against the petitioner if he complies with the notices on the date/s and in the manner that would be fixed by this court.
The court directed that in the meantime, the notices issued by police to Chakrabarty in respect of the cases lodged against him will remain stayed.
"The police authority shall be at liberty to issue fresh notices in respect of such cases either under Section 160 or Section 91 of the Code for the petitioner to comply with the same on 20.11.2023 and 22.11.2023," the court directed.
It directed that police will be at liberty to issue notices and examine the former VC in respect of three of the five cases on November 20 for a period not exceeding one hour in each such case.
Similarly, on November 22 the police can examine Chakrabarty in respect of the rest of the two cases for a period not exceeding one hour in each of these cases, the court directed.
The police officer will interrogate the petitioner at his residence, Justice Sengupta directed.
He further directed the state to file a report on the next date of hearing.
The former VC's lawyer, Srijib Chakraborty, submitted that after Chakrabarty assumed office, a tussle ensued with the state administration, claiming that at the behest of the political dispensation in power in West Bengal, false cases were foisted against the petitioner and others.
He submitted that this was all because Chakrabarty was trying to set things right in the administration of the university.
It was submitted that only a day's time was given for the petitioner to comply with the notices and appear before the police officers on November 10 and thereafter, upon a prayer for adjournment made by Chakrabarty, another notice was issued postponing the meetings till November 14.
The counsel for the state denied the allegations and submitted that as of now, Chakrabarty is only required to respond to the notices and get examined by the concerned police officers.
The state's counsel, Tapan Kumar Mukherjee, submitted that no coercive measures will be taken against the petitioner if he complies with the notices in the meantime on the date/s and in the manner that would be decided by this court. PTI AMR MNB