Calcutta, Aug. 14: Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra will seek legal advice if the Mamata Banerjee-led government does not follow the human rights commission's recommendation to probe the role of police officers who arrested him and his septuagenarian neighbour for circulating an Internet joke on the chief minister.
"I'll take legal advice on my next course of action if the government doesn't follow the rights commission's recommendations," Mahapatra said on the sidelines of a rally today to protest the violation of civil rights in Bengal.
Mahapatra was one of the speakers at the programme.
The commission, in its 12-page report published yesterday, had also said the state government should pay Rs 50,000 each as compensation within six weeks to Mahapatra, 52, and Subrata Sengupta, 72, who were arrested even before a formal complaint had been lodged and were charged with outraging the modesty of the chief minister.
"The money is not important but if the state government pays the compensation, it would mean they have realised it's a mistake," the professor said.
Arrested at 12.40am on April 13, Mahapatra and retired engineer Sengupta were kept in police custody for at last 16 hours until they obtained bail from court.
The state government had filed a case against them at a lower court but four months after the arrest, the chargesheet has yet to be filed.
Legal experts in Calcutta said if the state failed to carry out the rights panel's recommendations, the commission itself could approach the high court or the Supreme Court seeking an order asking that state to comply.
"The human rights commission has the power to approach the Supreme Court or the high court for such directions, orders or writs as that court may deem necessary," said lawyer Subrata Mukhopadhyay.
Mahapatra and Sengupta, who had approached the rights panel, also have the right to approach the high court on their own and seek an order to carrying out the commission's recommendations.
J. Sundara Sekhar, the secretary-cum-CEO of the state human rights commission, said: "A copy of the commission's recommendation has already been sent to the state's legal department. But what action the government is going to take on the report, has not been communicated to us till date."
Sources in the home department said whether the government would abide by the recommendations state human rights commission rests with Mamata Banerjee.
"It is not binding on the government to accept the recommendations made by the commission and hand out compensation to the teacher and his neighbour," said an official.