Amartya Sen's lawyers move court over Visva Bharati eviction notice
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen

Santiniketan: Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s lawyers have moved Bengal’s Birbhum district court challenging a fresh eviction order by Visva Bharati, asking the celebrated economist to vacate a portion of “encroached land” within his ancestral property situated on the university campus by May 6.

In the order, the central varsity asked Sen to vacate by May 6 or within 15 days of the publication of the last order on April 19, the land allegedly occupied in an unauthorised manner.

Countering this claim, Sen’s lawyers moved the district court on Friday challenging the Visva Bharati order, terming the eviction order as “illegal”.

Sen’s lawyer Gorachand Chakraborty told reporters Saturday, “We have drawn the attention of the court to the order issued by the Visva Bharati authorities. Their order is illegal. We have also learnt that Visva Bharati has filed a caveat. We have appealed for an early hearing given the May 6 timeframe in the eviction order issue.”

Chakraborty added, “We hope the court will consider the situation and take up the case early.”

The lawyer said there is also an Birbhum executive magistrate order asking police to enforce status-quo at the property till June 6 when it hears a petition relating to Section 145 CrPC (procedure where dispute concerning land or water is likely to cause breach of peace).

Sen’s caretaker Geetikanta Majumdar had moved this petition anticipating breach of peace due to the land dispute. Sen, who is based in US, is expected to be back in India in June.

Visva Bharati spokesperson said the university has nothing to comment on the issue.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that she would be the first to “sit outside” Sen’s Santiniketan home Pratichi’ to block “bulldozers” if there is any attempt to forcefully evict him.

“I want to see which is more powerful: bulldozer or humanity, ” the chief minister said.

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Contending that as per government advisories and CAG reports, the century-old institution was in urgent need of getting control of encroachments and also submit report to the ministry, the April 19 notice said, “Amartya Kumar Sen and all concerned persons are liable to be evicted from the said premises, if need be, by use of such force as may be necessary.”

“Thus he can lawfully occupy 1.25 acres of land only, as lesses (for the residual period of lease) in the scheduled premises. He does not have the authority to occupy 1.38 acres of land in the scheduled premises,” the notice issued by Joint Registrar Asish Mahato had said.

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