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Mamata Banerjee Objects To Justice Kausik Chanda Hearing Her Election Petition; Says She Has Objected To His Confirmation As HC Judge

Sparsh Upadhyay
18 Jun 2021 2:01 PM GMT
Mamata Banerjee Objects To Justice Kausik Chanda Hearing Her Election Petition; Says She Has Objected To His Confirmation As HC Judge
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West Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Rajesh Bindal urging him to reassign her Election Petition to another judge (other than Justice Kausik Chanda) to avoid prejudice against herself.The Letter has been written by AOR Sanjay Basu in connection with her Election Petition challenging Suvendu...

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West Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Rajesh Bindal urging him to reassign her Election Petition to another judge (other than Justice Kausik Chanda) to avoid prejudice against herself.

The Letter has been written by AOR Sanjay Basu in connection with her Election Petition challenging Suvendu Adhikari's election win from the Nandigram constituency in the West Bengal Assembly Polls. The matter is slated to be heard next week on Thursday (June 24).

The letter [written by AOR Sanjay Basu on behalf of CM Mamata Banerjee] objects to the listing of her petition before Justice Kaushik Chanda and states:

"My client has the utmost faith in the Judicial system and the Majesty of this Court, however, there is a reasonable apprehension in the mind of my about the likelihood of bias on the part of the Honorable Judge for the following reasons:"

The letter lists down the following reasons:

  • The adjudication of the Election Petition shall also have political ramifications. My client (Banerjee) has been made aware that Honourable Justice Kaushik Chanda was an active member of the BJP. Thus, in the event the Honourable Judge takes up the election petition, there will be a reasonable apprehension in my client's mind of bias on the part of the Honourable Judge in favour of the Respondent and/or against my Client.
  • Further, Justice Kaushik Chanda is yet to be confirmed as a permanent Judge of Calcutta High Court. My client's (CM Banerjee) views were sought by the Chief Justice on the confirmation of Justice Chanda as a permanent Judge of the HC. My Client had conveyed her objections and reservations to such confirmation. My client apprehends that the Judge is aware of her objections and as such, my client reasonably apprehends that there is a likelihood of the Bias on part of the Judge.

The letter further avers that since the respondent (Suvendu Adhikari) in the election petition is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party and the Judge (Justice Chanda) was an active member of BJP, it will lead to a situation and perception whereby Justice Chanda in adjudicating the matter, may be said to be "Judge in his own cause."

Thus, the further lastly states that in order to sustain the confidence of the public in the judiciary, the election petition in question "Ought to be reassigned."

Importantly, the letter also mentions that CM Banerjee had written to Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and had objected to the Confirmation of Justice Chanda as a permanent Judge of the High Court. 

It may be noted that the Bench of Justice Kaushik Chandra today listed the matter for next week after the matter was mentioned before the bench and Banerjee's counsel Soumendra Nath Mukherjee urged the bench to keep the same for directions next week.

Accepting Counsel's request, the Bench directed the registry to list the matter on June 24, meanwhile, a report has been sought by the Court as to whether the petition has been filed in conformity with the Representation of People Act or not.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was up against the TMC turncoat and BJP candidate Adhikari in the Nandigram Vidhan Sabha Constituency and she was defeated by Adhikari.

However, despite Banerjee's loss in the fiercely-fought Nandigram seat, the ruling Trinamool Congress swept the polls and formed the government in West Bengal for the third consecutive term.

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