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Lawyers seek contempt of court proceedings against West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for saying that Calcutta High Court is purchased, judges are biased

Mamata Banerjee said that Calcutta High Court has been purchased after the court scrapped all appointments made through a 2016 teacher recruitment test

On 25th April, a group of attorneys sought the Calcutta High Court to consider the statements made by All India Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the High Court on a suo motu basis. According to reports, she charged that the high court had been “sold out.” The statements were uttered following the judgement in the jobs for cash scandal which resulted in the appointment of about 24,000 teachers being quashed.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, a senior advocate and leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) urged Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya’s bench to take tough action against the Chief Minister for her “contemptuous” remarks. He requested, “This is criminal contempt, I am submitting the newspaper reports. I am praying suo motu cognisance to be taken. Unless the court becomes strict on this, if I have to file (a criminal contempt) petition, I will have to go through the Advocate General’s permission which will not be granted at any point in time.”

The petition mentioned, “I can file an affidavit showing that these are the statements, but kindly take cognisance of this. Otherwise, every court is laughing at us, what is going on? ‘High Court has been purchased’ (it is said). We do cases before the Hon’ble Court after toiling midnight oil. Now somebody is accusing that judges of the High Court and the entire High Court have been sold.”

The top lawyer stressed that the Chief Minister has consistently delivered remarks of a similar nature to denigrate the court in the public’s eyes. “We will keep translations of the headings. Now (it is reported that) ‘High Court has been sold out.’ That is the statement of the Hon’ble Chief Minister – not on one day, but persistently after the judgment delivered by this court. Persistent attempt! Just to make the High Court ridiculed in the eyes of the common man. I will file an affidavit. There are English newspaper reports. Kindly take cognisance.”

In the meanwhile, the Court inquired as to whether a petition might be submitted to get a record of the case. The counsel promised to include an affidavit with the reports on the statements made by the Chief Minister. He added that he would take the appropriate action by 2:00 pm. Two additional attorneys attempted to file petitions in the matter. Additionally, a lawyer filed a submission asking the High Court to take the Chief Minister’s detrimental and slanderous words into account.

The Court allowed petitions to be filed and also noted media reports that Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya had presented on the Chief Minister’s controversial pronouncements when the case was taken up in the afternoon. The Court then advised that before any further action is taken, all case-related documents will be presented to the Chief Justice for administrative review.

What Mamata Banerjee had alleged

The Calcutta High Court’s order cancelling all appointments made through a 2016 teacher recruitment test was deemed “illegal” by Mamata Banerjee on 22nd April. She also stated that her government would appeal the decision. During an electoral rally in Raiganj, North Bengal, she further argued that leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party were influencing a section of the judiciary and judgments.

“The court verdict cancelling all recruitments is illegal. We stand by those who lost their jobs. We will ensure you get justice, and challenge the order in a higher court,” she voiced. The TMC head later gave an assurance to individuals impacted by the Calcutta High Court verdict that they would take the case to the Supreme Court in search of “justice” while speaking at a Bhatar election rally for party candidate and former cricket player Kirti Azad.

She claimed, “I will not name any judge, but I am talking about the verdict. If you had pointed out the mistakes and directed us to correct them, we could have easily done that. Anybody can make a mistake, I do not look after everything. The education department is a separate one. There are different departments like the SSC, the primary board and the College commission.”

“It is shocking that, at the level of the cabinet of the State Government, the decision is taken to protect employment obtained fraudulently in a selection process conducted by SSC for state-funded schools, knowing fully well that, such appointments were obtained beyond the panel and after expiry of the panel,” the high court had expressed while reading the judgement. Furthermore, the court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct more inquiries into the “persons involved, in the state government approving the creation of supernumerary posts to accommodate illegal appointments” and to conduct prison interrogations if necessary.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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