The alleged language skills of FIR-drafters in Bengal became a source of mirth in the Supreme Court on Thursday with a judge wondering whether “that is the way English grammar is taught in the schools” in the state.
The counsel for Bimal Gurung, the Gorkha leader now on the run, told the court that the Bengal government had filed 300-odd cases against his client and his followers. The counsel, senior advocate P.S. Patwalia, added that several FIRs were identical and riddled with grammatical errors.
He claimed that the Bengal government had prepared a template to just add the name of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader to the FIRs whenever any violence took place.
“Most of these FIRs are identically drafted and are verbatim in nature. Even the grammatical mistakes are identical. There are several punctuation mistakes and other grammatical errors. Some of the FIRs read ‘he has’ and ‘they were’,” Patwalia told the bench. The FIRs show that the cases were foisted on Gurung, he added.
Justice A.K. Sikri, heading the bench, asked: “Are the FIRs in English?”
When Patwalia replied in the affirmative, Justice Sikri observed: “Perhaps that is the way English grammar is taught in the schools of Bengal.”
Amid laughter in the courtroom, Patwalia said: “The Bengalis take pride to be the intellectuals of the country, but this is the way the FIRs are drafted.”
The proceedings will resume on Monday. The bench is now dealing with an application filed by the Bengal government seeking the recall of the apex court’s order restraining the state from taking “any coercive action” against Gurung. Fearing imminent arrest, he had moved the court for relief.