Tripura District Magistrate Shailesh Kumar Yadav’s news has been the most widely circulated news in the state this month. Yadav rose to prominence on Tuesday after a video of him beating a groom for breaking the enforced night curfew went viral on April 27. Following this, the DM faced widespread criticism from lawmakers, internet trolls, and locals, although many others backed the officer.
On Monday, the Tripura High Court provided notice in a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking disciplinary action against the Magistrate for mishandling and violating his official capacity.
- The priest who arranged the marriage ceremony filed the suit, alleging that the DM “behaved poorly with the people present and had violated his powers.” As a result, the plea asked for many things, including individual criminal charges against the DM and his staff members who had accompanied him to the wedding hall, as well as a departmental investigation into them.
- Portions of the altercation were videotaped, and the footage quickly went viral on social media, drawing national coverage. It is common knowledge that the State Government formed a two-member Committee to investigate the incident and make a report to the Government shortly after it was made public. When the investigation was underway, the government issued an order dated May 2, 2021, which relieved the District Magistrate of
his duties as D.M. and Collector of West Tripura before the investigation was concluded or further orders were issued.
- After hearing the parties in camera and concluding that the question merits attention, the Bench went on to say that certain of the prayers in the PIL cannot be granted. The Court stated that the petition for action against by the members of the DM’s team cannot be granted since they were “solely acting on orders from their superiors.”
- “Even if there is any lacuna in issuing such orders or exceeding of the jurisdiction by the authority, this support staff cannot be made answerable for their actions. At the time when the entire country is facing an extremely difficult situation of managing corona virus spread, we would certainly not send signals to the foot soldiers that carrying out the orders of their superiors can expose them to inquiries.” – the court observed.
- Thus, Court declined to issue any gag order. District magistrate have been noticed not to make any public comment or statement till the further orders. Advocate General requested that publication of any news in relation to the present Court proceedings may be prevented.
- The court held, the right of the public to have access to media is protected by the freedom of the press, which is a precious human right. Such a right cannot be curtailed lightly. Court should assure the learned Advocate General of two points, though. One, no amount of media sensationalism of the subject by either source can impair our judgement, and two, whenever any incident of a publication that is either contemptible or derogatory is called to our attention, it will still be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Under any situation, court want the media to be accountable and report the news as accurately as the events unfolded.
- Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, according to officials, has directed Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to send a report on the DM’s conduct in dealing with the holding of marriage ceremonies in violation of the night curfew and SOPs. From April 22 to May 5, the Tripura Chief Secretary issued an order imposing a night curfew in the Agartala
Municipal Corporation district from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In closed spaces, a limit of 50% of the seating or hall capacity should be permitted for any social, cultural, entertainment, or political meeting with a ceiling of 100 people, while in open areas, a maximum of 50% of the seating or hall capacity should be allowed for any social, cultural, entertainment, or political event with a ceiling of 100 people.
- In the marriage in Agartala, there were only 31 people including 19 women as reported. So here’s the question arises; what was the necessity of all the chaos? According to Yadav, a group of police officers who worked hand-in-hand with the wedding parties were able to perform the ceremonies against the government’s instructions. “Despite the troubling increase in coronavirus cases, many of these individuals are well educated, but they did not obey the rules. In the other side, these very people would suspect the government of doing little. I also propose that the officer-in-charge of the West Agartala police station be suspended “According to the IAS officer.
- “At the wedding service, the DM verbally assaulted and threatened the priests, bridegroom, and others,” BJP MLA accuses Yadav.
- Yadav assured reporters in this city that he did all he could to uphold law and order. “It is my responsibility to maintain law and order while also preventing the dissemination of COVID-19. Whatever I did that night, I stand by it “he said. “I apologize if last night’s behavior caused any discomfort to someone or any community. What was performed last night, on the other hand, was solely for the good and well-being of the people. My aim was not to cause anybody discomfort or humiliation “PTI quoted Shailesh Kumar Yadav as saying. What else was puzzling was that two of the greatest Twitter trends on Thursday said that Yadav had already been suspended. The hashtags
IStandWithShaileshYadav and #DM_शैलेशयादवसस्पेंड were trending on twitter itself.
- The Advocate General’s petition to bar the media from covering the court proceedings in the West Tripura district magistrate (DM) case was later dismissed by the Tripura High Court. “It is my responsibility to uphold the law and preserve order for the prevention of COVID-19 spread,” Yadav told EastMojo after speaking before the investigating committee.
- As a temporary measure, the following directives are issued:
a. Court believes that, in order to pursue an independent fact-finding investigation into the incident and the role played by the D.M, which is completely necessary, he must be relocated out of Agartala. Any such investigation will inevitably necessitate the recording of witness statements. If the D.M. is held in Agartala, it would be
impossible for several witnesses to come forward and provide a credible account of the event.
b. The investigation into the District Magistrate will be halted before further orders are given.
c. If he has passed after the 26th of April, 2021 event, the District Magistrate shall also record any order suspending the licence of the marriage halls.
By:- Tanushree ChakrabortyFinal Year, BA LLBJEMTEC School Of Law