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Calcutta HC judge exits from Mamata Banerjee’s plea against Suvendu Adhikari

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Justice Kaushik Chanda of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday exited the case filed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee against the poll victory of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from the Nandigram Assembly constituency.

However, he imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the TMC supremo and made a series of angry observations accusing the West Bengal chief minister of a “pre-planned move to malign a judge” and violating her constitutional duty.

Notably, Banerjee has asked the judge to recuse himself from the case over “conflict of interest”. She has appealed that her case should be assigned to a different court as she alleged that Justice Chanda has links with the BJP.

Mamata Banerjee’s letter to Chief Justice

Mamata Banerjee had on June 16 written a letter to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court giving two reasons for her request.

Justice Kaushik Chanda was associated with the BJP in the past, Banerjee’s letter said, and therefore there was “reasonable apprehension of bias… in favour of the respondent…”, who is also from the BJP. The TMC chief also said she “reasonably apprehends likelihood of bias” because in April she had objected to Justice Chanda’s confirmation as a permanent judge of the 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’,” Banerjee 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”.

Suvendu Adhikari’s victory

Although the BJP that was claiming to win 200 seats in the Assembly poll remained confined to just 77 seats, Suvendu Adhikari won from Nandigram defeating Mamata Banerjee with a very narrow margin. Banerjee had requested the EC officials for a recounting, but her request was rejected. Following this, she approached the high court.

 

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