Mamata wants Suvendu’s case transferred to another judge
In a surprising development, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Calcutta High Court, requesting that his petition challenging the election of Suvendu Adhikari of Nandigram’s BJP be reassigned to another judge. The petition is currently attributed to Judge Kausik Chanda.
In a letter written on behalf of Miss Banerjee by her lawyer and delivered to the Chief Justice of the High Court on June 16, two grounds for the claim were cited for the claim.
“My client filed an election petition contesting the election of Suvendu Adhikari, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The adjudication of the election petition will also have political ramifications. My client has been informed that the Honorable Judge Kaushik Chanda is an active member of the BJP. Thus, if the honorable judge takes charge of the election request, 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 ” , letter read.
“In any event, given that the defendant in the election petition is a member of the BJP and the honorable judge was an active member of the BJP, this will lead to a situation and perception that the honorable judge , when deciding on the case, can be qualified as “judge in his own case”. Justice must not only be served; it must also be seen as being done, ”the letter added.
“At some point in April 2021, my client had received a letter from the Honorable Chief Justice of this honorable court for the confirmation of the Honorable Justice Kausik Chanda as a permanent judge of this court. My client had objected to the judge’s confirmation as a permanent judge of the High Court in Calcutta.
“In addition, the Honorable Judge Kausik Chanda has not yet been confirmed as a permanent judge of this court. As stated above, my client’s opinions were solicited by the Chief Justice on the confirmation of Judge Kausik Chanda as a permanent judge of the High Court of Calcutta. My client had expressed her objections and reservations to such confirmation. My client apprehends that the 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.
“In the aforementioned circumstances, in order to maintain public confidence in the judiciary, the aforementioned election petition should be reallocated. Therefore, on behalf of my client, I humbly implore you to immediately file this letter before the Chief Justice (Interim) for the necessary reallocation of the election petition in order to avoid any prejudice and / or presumption of prejudice against my client ” said the letter.
Meanwhile, Trinamul spokesman Kunal Ghosh suggested Judge Chanda “could probably have a soft spot for (the BJP) subconsciously” and “maybe he should quit this case.”
Banerjee filed an election petition against his former aide-turned-BJP opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari in the Calcutta High Court, challenging his Nandigram election victory, asking the court to declare the election null and void.
Banerjee contested and lost Nandigram’s election to Adhikari. The petition was briefly heard Friday morning by Judge Chanda before being adjourned to June 24.