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Calcutta HC reserves order on Mamata Banerjee’s recusal plea

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The Calcutta High Court on Thursday reserved its order on a plea filed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking the recusal of Justice Kaushik Chanda from hearing an election petition filed by her challenging the victory of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram Assembly constituency.

Notably, the single judge bench of Justice Kaushik Chanda reserved the verdict on the recusal plea.The West Bengal chief minister appeared before Justice Chanda through teleconference, as directed by him on June 18.

Justice Chanda, against whom the recusal petition has been filed, heard the matter and reserved his order. The judge did not specify the date for pronouncement of the verdict. Banerjee had moved the high court claiming she apprehended that she may not get justice from the judge due to his alleged BJP links.

Her counsel had earlier written to Acting Chief Justice of the high court Rajesh Bindal seeking reassignment of her election petition to another bench.

What Mamata Banerjee claimed

Banerjee has claimed in her recusal petition that she has been made aware that Justice Chanda was an “active member” of the BJP. She said since the matter is related to the adjudication of an election petition where the election of a BJP candidate has been contested, it will have political ramifications. So, she prayed that the acting chief justice, who is the master of the roster, assign the matter to another bench.

Election petition against Adhikari

Banerjee has accused Adhikari, her former confidante-turned-rival, of committing corrupt practices in violation of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. She also alleged irregularities were committed in the counting exercise.

According to the result declared by the Election Commission on May 2, Adhikari defeated Banerjee by 1956 votes. The West Bengal chief minister had sought recounting of votes after her defeat by a slender margin but the returning officer turned down the request.

Notably, BJP despite making tall claims of winning at least 200 seats could manage to win only 77 seats in the West Bengal Assembly elections. The TMC went on to register a thumping victory by winning 213 seats. However, Mamata Banerjee lost the election to Suvendu Adhikari in a tight contest.

 

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