Mamata Banerjee Joins Court Hearing Virtually In Case vs Suvendu Adhikari

Mamata Banerjee Joins Court Hearing Virtually In Case vs Suvendu Adhikari


Mamata Banerjee Joins Court Hearing Virtually In Case vs Suvendu Adhikari

Mamata Banerjee was not present in court in the last hearing.

Kolkata:

Mamata Banerjee today joined a hearing on her petition challenging the election of the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram virtually. The Bengal Chief Minister has filed a petition asking that Justice Kaushik Chanda exit the case over “conflict of interest”.

The judge, at the start of the hearing, referred to the request and asked: “You filed a reassignment plea before the acting Chief Justice on 16 June. Why didn’t you tell me that when I heard the case on June 18? You can’t seek administrative and legal intervention at same time.”

Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Mamata Banerjee, said the judge should recuse as there was a conflict of interest.

Mamata Banerjee wants the case to be re-assigned to a different court.

In a letter written on behalf of the Chief Minister by her advocate, and delivered to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court on June 16, Ms Banerjee outlined two reasons for the request.

Justice Kaushik Chanda was associated with the BJP in the past, Ms Banerjee’s letter said, and therefore “reasonable apprehension of bias… in favour of the Respondent…”, who is also from the BJP. 

Ms Banerjee also said she “reasonably apprehends likelihood of bias” because in April she had objected to Justice Chanda’s confirmation as a permanent judge at Calcutta High Court.

“… it will lead to a situation and perception whereby the Honourable Judge, in adjudicating the matter, may be said to be ‘judge in his own cause’,” the Chief Minister wrote in her letter.

“Justice must not only be done; it must also be seen to be done,” she added, as she underlined the need to “sustain the confidence of the public in the judiciary”.

Ms Banerjee’s petition was briefly heard by Justice Chanda on June 16 and adjourned to June 24.

Sources said in cases related to the Representation of the People Act the petitioner – in this case Ms Banerjee – needed to be present in court. Otherwise, the court may dismiss the plea.

Mamata Banerjee was not present in court in the last hearing.

Ms Banerjee had moved the courts in May to challenge the Nandigram election result. She’d contested the seat against protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari and lost by less than 2,000 votes.

She asked for Mr Adhikari’s election be declared void on commission of corrupt practices including bribery, promotion of hatred and enmity, and seeking of votes on the basis of religion.

In addition to Ms Banerjee, four other Trinamool leaders who lost their elections also filed petitions.



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