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SC junks Bengal govt plea against protection from arrest to BJP's Suvendu Adhikari

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea by the West Bengal government challenging the order of the single judge of the Calcutta High Court protecting BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari from arrest.

The state government had filed an appeal challenging the division bench order of the Calcutta High Court, which declined to interfere with the single judge order.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna: "The special leave petitions arise from an interlocutory order, we are not inclined to exercise the jurisdiction of this court under Article 136 of the Constitution."

The top court while dismissing the plea said that the parties will be governed by December 13, 2021 order passed in an SLP impugning the order of the single judge.

On December 13, the Supreme Court had declined to entertain a plea by the West Bengal government challenging the Calcutta High Court decision to protect Adhikari from arrest in cases registered against him, after he switched from the Trinamool Congress to BJP.

The counsel for the state government had vehemently argued that merely because the complaints were made after he switched to the BJP from Trinamool, these cases cannot be termed malicious.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Adhikari, had then pointed out that the hearing before a single-judge of the high court went for nearly a month before the order was passed. He added that it seems uncharitable to say the judge after one month of hearing jumped to a conclusion. Salve said: "Dr Dhawan coined the term 'regime revenge.' That's exactly what is happening...He contested against the incumbent Chief Minister and that became a big prestige issue..."

The high court in September this year had observed that the state government was attempting to implicate Adhikari by filing criminal cases against him, and granted him interim protection from arrest in six FIRs registered against him.

The top court said it is open for the state to file counter affidavit before the high court and seek expeditious hearing.

Adhikari moved the high court over seven criminal cases lodged against him by the state government and sought a stay of his arrest in those cases.