A judge, member of the BJP, was opposed to its confirmation: Mamata wants the HC Nandigram case to be “reassigned”
To say that Judge Kausik Chanda – an additional judge at the Calcutta High Court who hears her motion asking for the reassessment of the results of the Nandigram poll – is an “active member” of the BJP, and that she had opposed her confirmation as as a permanent judge, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called for the case “to be reassigned”, citing a “likelihood of bias”.
While the case was due to be heard on Friday, Judge Chanda postponed it to June 24 and said the petitioner (Banerjee) should be present.
In a letter to HC (Acting) Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, attorney for Banerjee Sanjay Basu said the CM had previously “expressed objections and reservations” about Judge Chanda’s confirmation. as a permanent judge, and that there was therefore “a reasonable apprehension… of bias”.
On Friday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) tweeted two photographs of Judge Chanda sharing a scene with West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh.
When asked if Judge Chanda was a member of the BJP, Ghosh replied that he “was not sure”. Ghosh, however, admitted that before becoming a judge, Judge Chanda had attended the party cell’s legal programs and “may have appeared” for the party before the HC. He said the photographs probably date back to “around 2015″. ” What’s wrong ? He asked.
The TMC, which tweeted the photographs from its official account on Friday, said: “Judge Kaushik Chanda is seen sharing a scene with @DilipGhoshBJP of BJP. Unsurprisingly, he is also the judge who was assigned to hear the #Nandigram case. As the Indian justice system grows darker by the day, will there be justice in this case? Only time will tell.
As the Indian justice system grows darker by the day, will there be justice in this case? Only time will tell. pic.twitter.com/eE0W8pzbfw
– Trinamool Congress in India (@AITCofficial) June 18, 2021
Party MP Derek O’Brien also tweeted a list of “cases in which Judge Kaushik Chanda appeared for the BJP in Calcutta High Court.” He listed 10 cases, from 2012 to 2014. “And now he has been tasked with hearing the Nandigram election case. A big coincidence? … Can the judiciary go lower, ”he tweeted.
“We have full confidence in the judiciary … We are not questioning Judge Chanda’s jurisdiction … but this raises questions about his neutrality,” TMC State Secretary General Kunal Ghosh said, adding that the judge should recuse himself.
In his letter to Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal, Banerjee’s attorney Sanjay Basu said: “My client has filed the motion challenging the election of BJP member Suvendu Adhikari; the judgment of the election petition will also have political ramifications. My client was informed that the Honorable Judge Kausik Chanda was an active member of the BJP. Thus, should the Honorable Judge take up the election petition, there will be a reasonable apprehension in my client’s mind of bias on the part of the Honorable Judge in favor of the Respondent and / or against my client. “
“The Honorable Judge Kausik Chanda has not yet been confirmed as a permanent judge… My client’s perspective is sought by the Honorable Chief Justice on the confirmation of the Honorable Judge Kausik Chanda as a judge Standing of the Honorable High Court of Calcutta. My client has expressed her objections and reservations to this confirmation. My client apprehends that the Honorable Judge is aware of his objections and, as such, my client reasonably apprehends that there is a likelihood of bias on the part of the Honorable Judge, ”the letter said.
Speaking to the Indian Express, the head of the state BJP, Dilip Ghosh, said: “As a senior lawyer at the High Court in Calcutta, he has been invited and has attended our programs. legal unit. I’m not sure when, but it could be around 2015. What’s wrong? He later became the additional solicitor general. Being a senior lawyer, he may have represented our party in cases. What’s the deal with that? There are many advocates who attend political party programs and fight cases. However, it was a long time before he became a judge. It is wrong to question the neutrality of a judge.
“Does this mean that a senior lawyer can never be a judge?” The president of the State Assembly is from the Trinamool Congress, but we respect him for his position and neutrality, ”Ghosh said.
“He (TMC) has no proof that the photo he tweeted is original or not. We can’t say anything until we’re sure about the photo, ”said Partha Ghosh, chair of the state legal cell of the BJP.
“We have invited many advocates to our programs, that doesn’t mean they are biased. After being brought up as a judge, he was never associated with our programs, ”said Priyanka Tibrewal, member of the BJP legal cell and lawyer at HC.
Tibrewal claimed that the judge “was never part of the BJP” and “also never held a post in the BJP or in its allied organizations”.
Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, senior lawyer and ICC member (M) Rajya Sabha, said: “When someone becomes a judge, he must take an oath under the Constitution. The question is not which cases he fought as a lawyer, but his role as a judge. No one should question the judge’s neutrality.
Born January 4, 1974, Judge Chanda graduated in law from the University of Calcutta in 1997 and registered as a lawyer on December 18, 1998. He was appointed senior lawyer on June 10, 2014. He served as a prosecutor Additional General of India from April 2015 to September 2019, and was elevated to the rank of Additional Judge on October 1, 2019.
TMC-turned-BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari defeated Banerjee by a margin of 1,956 votes in the Nandigram Assembly elections earlier this year. Alleging professional misconduct, Banerjee had filed a complaint with the HC, requesting a reassessment of the results.