We’ve Been Reduced to a Mockery: Calcutta HC Judge on Narada Case

“Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the High Court commands,” Justice Sinha wrote in his letter.

2 min read
“Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the High Court commands,” Justice Sinha wrote in his letter.

While objecting to how the Narada bribery case is being handled, a Calcutta High Court judge wrote a letter to senior judges criticising the court of “unbecoming conduct”.

In the significant development, Justice Arindam Sinha wrote to the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta HC Rajesh Bindal and other senior judges. This letter focuses on the CBI's e-mail asking for the Narada case to be transferred out of Bengal and how it was incorrectly listed by the Calcutta HC before a division bench of two when it should have gone to a single judge.

“The High Court must get its act together. Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the High Court commands,” Justice Sinha wrote in his letter.

The CBI had sent an email to the HC on 17 May after arresting four political leaders, including two ministers from Bengal. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Bindal heard the matter and put on hold the bail granted to TMC leaders.

The CBI asked for the case to be transferred citing a number of reasons. These being the sit-in protest led by the Chief Minister at the CBI office, how Trinamool supporters had gathered outside the office, and how the Law Minister went to court “with a mob” when the arrested politicians were presented. These, the CBI says, were vitiating the atmosphere and making it difficult for them to do their job.

Justice Sinha’s main issue is how this transfer plea should not have been treated as a writ petition as no substantial question of law was involved.

“The first Division Bench took up the matter treating it to be a writ petition. Even a writ petition under Article 228 of the Constitution should have gone to the single judge having determination," he said.

"The mob factor may be a ground on merits for adjudication of the motion but could the first division bench have taken it up and continued to hear it as a writ petition is the first question," he wrote.

Sinha also objected to the earlier division bench passing the case to a larger bench, when judges had disagreed on the question to grant bail to the TMC leaders, adding that the opinion of a third judge should have been taken.

"I am requesting all of us to salvage the situation by taking such steps, including convening a full court, if necessary, for the purpose of reaffirming the sanctity of our rules and our unwritten code of conduct [sic.]," Justice Sinha wrote.

(With inputs from NDTV and Bar and Bench.)

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