28 May 2021 6:15 AM GMT
"Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the High Court commands," said Justice Arindam Sinha, a Sitting Judge of the Calcutta High Court while expressing reservations on the manner in which the transfer plea filed by Central investigation agency— CBI in the Narada scam case, was listed before a Division Bench on May 17. Justice Sinha has addressed a letter to the 5-Judges Bench...
"Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the High Court commands," said Justice Arindam Sinha, a Sitting Judge of the Calcutta High Court while expressing reservations on the manner in which the transfer plea filed by Central investigation agency— CBI in the Narada scam case, was listed before a Division Bench on May 17.
Justice Sinha has addressed a letter to the 5-Judges Bench that is hearing the recall applications filed by the four arrested leaders against an order for stay of bail passed by the aforesaid Division Bench on May 19.
At the outset, Justice Sinha mentions that a transfer petition has to be listed before a Single Judge. He further mentioned that in any case, such a petition could not be treated like a writ petition, as was done by the Division Bench.
"The Appellate Side Rules require a motion seeking transfer, cither on the civil or criminal side, to be heard by a single Judge. However, the first Division Bench look up the matter (treating it to be a writ petition)…Even a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution should have gone to the learned single Judge having determination," the letter states.
"The communication could not have been treated as such a writ petition simply because no substantial question of law as to interpretation of the Constitution has been raised, as not recorded in order dated 17th May, 2021 nor the subsequently filed application."
The mob factor, the Judge said, which has been pressed by the CBI as a ground for cancellation of Bail, "may be a ground on merits, for adjudication of the motion, but could the first Division Bench have taken it up and continue to hear it as a writ petition."
On May 17, the Division Bench had stayed the bail granted by the Special CBI Court at Kokata to four Trinamool Congress leaders - Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee and Sovan Chatterjee - who were arrested dramatically by CBI on May 17.
The bench passed the stay order after a dramatic late-night hearing held on the basis of a letter sent by the CBI seeking transfer of the case to the High Court citing "unprecedented mob pressure" exerted on the lower court by the mass protests led by Chief Minister and the Law Minister against the arrests of the TMC leaders.
On 21st May, following a split in the Calcutta High Court Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee the matter was referred to a larger Bench.
As per Justice Sinha, the matter should have been referred to a third Judge for opinion, and not to a Constitution Bench.
"When the Judges in a Division Bench differ on any point(s) or issue(s) same is referred to a third learned Judge for opinion. In the premises rule 1 in Chapter II of the Appellate Side Rules do not apply. Chapter VII provides for references to a Full Bench. Such references arise when view taken by a Division Bench is inconsistent with view taken by another Division Bench," he wrote.
The Judge has therefore urged the High Court to "get its act together" and "salvage the situation" by taking such steps, including convening a Full Court, if necessary, for the purpose of re-affirming sanctity of the High Court Rules and the unwritten code of conduct.