Nandigram Case: HC Reserves Order as Mamata Seeks Recusal of Judge
The HC was hearing TMC chief Mamata Baneerjee’s petition challenging the results of the Nandigram Assembly polls.
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday, 24 June, reserved its judgment in the case filed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee challenging the result of the Nandigram elections, after Banerjee requested for the judge to be recused from the case over his alleged BJP leaning.
The case was being heard by a single-judge Bench of Justice Kausik Chanda, who said that the “petitioner has the full right to move for recusal and rest assured, the matter will be decided judicially.”
Banerjee’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also a Congress leader, mentioned instances to show that Justice Chanda has connections with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to Bar&Bench, Singhvi also mentioned a case where Justice Chanda had moved intervention application on the party’s behalf.
What Happened at the Court?
Singhvi on Thursday requested Justice Chanda to recuse himself from the case using his prerogative.
According to Bar&Bench, Singhvi read out the contents of the recusal application, which alleged that Justice Chanda had a relationship with the BJP which was "ideological, pecuniary, personal, and professional,” to which, the Court asked why the application was not pointed out on 18 June, when the matter was first heard.
Banerjee made an appearance in the virtual hearing as she was required to be present before the Court under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Why is Banerjee Seeking Justice Chanda’s Recusal?
Banerjee on 18 June wrote to the Calcutta High Court, urging that her petition be re-assigned to a different judge.
“My client has been made aware that the Hon'ble Justice Kaushik Chanda was an active member of the BJP. Thus, in the event the Hon'ble Judge takes up the election petition, there will be reasonable apprehension in my client's mind of bias on the part of the Hon'ble Judge in favour of the respondent and/or against my client,” the letter read.
“In any event, in view of the fact that the respondent in the election petition is a member of the BJP and the Hon’ble Judge was an active member of the BJP, it will lead to a situation and perception whereby the Hon’ble Judge, in adjudicating the matter, may be said to be ‘judge in his own cause’. Justice must not only be done; it must also be seen to be done,” the letter added.
Banerjee has filed an election petition against her one-time aide-turned-BJP leader of the opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, in the Calcutta High Court challenging his poll victory from Nandigram, praying to the court to declare the election null and void.
Banerjee had contested and lost the elections from Nandigram against Adhikari. The petition was briefly heard on Friday morning by Justice Chanda before it was adjourned to 24 June.
(With inputs from ANI, IANS and Bar&Bench.)
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