A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the West Bengal government to transfer the 2018 violence at a Uttar Dinajpur school, in which two youths died, to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The bench, comprising Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, upheld the order of a single bench which in May 2023 had directed an NIA investigation. In his order, Justice Rajasekhar Mantha had said that though the petitioners have prayed for the transfer of the investigation to the CBI, in view of the findings recorded, the court was of the view that the NIA would be the proper authority to investigate the matter. The state had moved the division bench after the order.

On September 20, 2018, violence broke out at Darivit High School in which Tapas Barman and Rajesh Sarkar lost their lives. The incident had sparked massive protests in Islampur and family members of the deceased had refused to conduct the last rites of the two. They had demanded a CBI investigation into the violence.

Appearing for the state, Advocate General Kishore Dutta said a chargesheet has been filed by the state police in which 33 people have been named as accused. Mr. Dutta said there was no ground to transfer the investigation to the NIA. He said law and order is a State subject.

However, Additional Solicitor General Asok Kumar Chakrabarti, who appeared for the Centre, said law and order being a State subject does not apply when an NIA-scheduled offence is committed.


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