The Supreme Court on Friday directed GJM leader Bimal Gurung not to make speeches or hold demonstrations and asked him to respond by November 27 to a plea for modification of an apex court order that restrained the West Bengal government from taking coercive steps against him.
Giving the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader time till Monday to respond to an application by the West Bengal Director General of Police to seek modification of the November 20 order of the court, a bench of Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan observed: "You have to ensure no speeches or demonstrations. . . . "
The top court, by its November 20 order, had said that "no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner (Bimal Gurung). "
Gurung is spearheading the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state.
Appearing for the DGP, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi recounted instances of brutal violence allegedly by Gurung supporters, including killing of policemen, burning of their as well as government and private vehicles.
The senior counsel told the court that 54 FIRs stood registered against Gurung, besides 23 cases under trial.
The court told senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi: " "You have made allegations that are serious and need consideration" and directed for the listing of the matter on November 28.
On the other hand, Gurung's lawyer P. S. Patwalia told the court that Gurung was being targeted by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was opposed to the Gorkhaland demand and urged for handing over all cases registered by police to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Patwalia said FIRs were being registered one after the other with identical wordings.
"Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) is against an independent state of Gorkhaland and against me, " senior counsel Patwalia said, pointing out that "these FIRs are part of political persecution against me by the West Bengal government".
He wanted the Centre to be made a party in the case, a plea opposed by Singhvi who wondered what was the role of the Centre in the matter.
Seeking reversal of the November 22 order, Singhvi said the kind of immunity being enjoyed by the GJM leader was not enjoyed even by the President of India or the Governors.
The apex court ordered for making the Centre a party to the case.