Cartoon Case: HC Lashes at State Govt


Kolkata: In another blow to the state government, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday hearing state versus Ambikesh Mahapatra, lashed out at the state government and police over the arrest of Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra for a cartoon drawn by him depicting chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The High Court division bench of Justice Manula Chellur sarcastically asked “Was the cartoon packed enough punch to ensure an immediate arrest.” Lashing out at the government the court questioned states reluctance to pay the Jadavpur professor compensation as per the direction of Human Rights Commission.

The Public Prosecutor’s attempt to mask the arrest a security measure was promptly junked by the court. The HC rebuffed the public prosecutor saying arrest and security measures are not same thing. The court also directed the HRC to submit its report on the case within two weeks.

Ambikesh Mahapatra, a professor of Jadavpur University was arrested by Kolkata police for posting a cartoon of Mamata Banerjee on Facebook in the year 2012. Ambikesh later moved human rights commission and High Court against the detention.

The human rights commission ruled in favour of Mahapatra and directed the state government to pay him compensation. The state also suffered setback at the High Court which too directed the state to abide by the rights commission.