Explained: What is Article 356 of the Indian Constitution
New Delhi, May 05: A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging "widespread violence" in the aftermath of assembly polls in West Bengal and sought imposition of President's rule, deployment of central forces and a probe by a retired apex court judge into the "targeted pogrom".
Earlier in the day, senior advocate and BJP's national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia also moved the top court seeking CBI probe into violent incidents in the state during and after the poll process.
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress party stormed back to power in West Bengal this week.
The new plea has been filed by Tamil Nadu-based 'Indic Collective Trust' through lawyer Suvidutt M S in view of the widespread violence and disruption of law and order in the state pursuant to the assembly election.
At least six people were killed in post poll violence in different parts of the state including one in Kolkata, police said.
BJP has alleged that TMC-backed goons have killed a number of its workers, attacked its woman members, vandalised houses, looted shops of the party members and ransacked party offices.
TMC has denied the charges.
The petitioner-Trust has requested for a direction from the apex court to the Centre to deploy central protection forces, including armed forces, for restoration of law and order in West Bengal.
What is Article 356:
Declare that the Constitutional machinery has broken down in the State of West Bengal within the meaning of Article 356 of the Constitution in order for His Excellency the President to take appropriate action under the said Article," the plea stated.
Under Article 356 of the Constitution, if a state government is unable to function according to Constitutional provisions, the Centre can take direct control of the state machinery.
The plea requested the court to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by retired Justice of the top court to look into involvement of politicians, if any, in the alleged targeted pogrom in West Bengal.
Indic Collective Trust also sought for immediate arrest and prosecution against all individuals involved and responsible for the commission of heinous offences in the aftermath of the assembly elections.
It also demanded directions for setting up or establishing a special court to adjudicate and dispose of matters pertaining to the prosecution of political miscreants, or any individuals involved in the commission of heinous offences.
A day after the ruling party won polls, BJP alleged that four of its workers were killed by TMC workers.
The petitioner claimed that the members and supporters of the opposing political parties have been brutally murdered, with their houses and personal property being destroyed.
"There have been instances of heinous crimes including bombing of localities, murders, violations against the modesty of women, riotous looting, kidnapping, arson and destruction of public property," the plea said.
The petition also alluded to reports cite instances of gang rape and physical assault against women who support the opposing parties in the state.
"...miscreants have turned the State into a complete lawless zone" it stated, adding that the violence was an organized and premeditated crime against a targeted group of people who exercised their political choice against the ruling party.