28 April 2023 7:36 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to reassign the matter concerning the Primary Teachers' Recruitment Scam in West Bengal to another judge. Till now, the matter was being dealt by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court who had directed the CBI and the ED to question TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. The development...
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to reassign the matter concerning the Primary Teachers' Recruitment Scam in West Bengal to another judge. Till now, the matter was being dealt by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court who had directed the CBI and the ED to question TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.
The development comes after the Supreme Court had earlier taken exception to Justice Gangopadhyay's interview with ABP Ananda wherein he allegedly spoke against Banerjee. The court had remarked that "judges have no business granting interviews on matters which are pending," and had sought for clarification as to whether the purported statements were made by the single judge or not. The Registrar General of the High Court was directed to file an affidavit after verifying the matter with the judge.
Today, the bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha took into account the transcript of Justice Gangopadhyay's interview with ABP Ananda. The bench led CJI DY Chandrachud accordingly dictated the following order–
"Pursuant to the order of this court, the registry has placed the affidavit. We have considered the note by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay and have also perused the transcript of the interview. Having considered the transcript, we direct that the Hon'ble acting Chief Justice of High Court of Calcutta shall reassign the pending proceedings in the case to some other judge. The judge to whom it is reassigned shall be at liberty to take up any application in that regard. Anybody who wants to make an application, that judge will consider it."
At this juncture, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that judges were now being targeted by political individuals against whom judgements were passed. He said–
"Whenever an order goes against an individual, the judges are targeted. Before Justice Gangopadhyay, there was another judge. People went with paperweights and slippers. Posters were made. This sends a demoralising message to the judiciary. Please say something which doesn't have a demoralising effect. They go to court rooms, abuse judges. There are videos."
To this, CJI DY Chandrachud said–
"Let's make it clear- Judges take on very arduous duty. The only reason we're asking for case to be reassigned is because of the transcript - no other reason. They can't say in public realm that the judge was biased...You're right, no judges should be browbeated. As a Chief Justice, if I come across that, we'll take it up on the administrative side."
However, the bench clarified that the transcript of the interview justified the Supreme Court's order.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Abhishek Banerjee, had taken objection to the HC judge's TV interview and stated that his media comments gave rise to a strong apprehension of bias.
Case Title: Abhishek Banerjee v. Soumen Nandy And Ors. Diary No. 15883/2023
Click here to read the order