Tripura High Court gags District Magistrate who forcefully stopped wedding, asks government to shift him out of Agartala

ADistrict Magistrate of West Tripura, Sailesh Kumar Yadav who was caught on camera forcefully intervening and stopping a wedding ceremony in State’s capital Agartala, should be shifted out of the city so that an impartial inquiry can be conducted into the incident, the Tripura High Court told the State government.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice SG Chattopadhyay said that any enquiry would necessarily require recording of statements of witnesses and it would be difficult for many witnesses to come forward and to give truthful account of the incident if the DM is retained at Agartala.

The Court, therefore, requested the Advocate General to take instructions from the government on this aspect and revert back to the Court on the next date of hearing with necessary instructions.

The Court meanwhile also stayed the inquiry instituted against the DM by the State government.

The directions were passed in two petitions filed regarding the recent incident which took in Tripura on April 26 when a video went viral on social media showing the DM forcefully stopping a marriage ceremony for violating COVID norms.

One petition, a public interest litigation plea was filed by a lawyer praying that action including criminal proceedings should be initiated against the DM and his team who accompanied him.

The second petition was filed by the priest, who was called to perform the marriage ceremony of the bride and the groom. He prayed for a direction to take punitive action against the District Magistrate and his team members including departmental action.

The Court noted that soon after the said incident came to light, the State Government has instituted a two member Committee to inquire into the incident and to submit a report to the government.

The court refused to initiate any actions against the team members who followed the orders of their senior officials.

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 added.

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