In new development regarding the West Bengal post-poll violence, CM Mamata Banerjee wrote to Calcutta HC and claimed that the case judge – Justice Kausik Chanda – is a BJP member. In her letter to Calcutta HC’s Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Banerjee claimed that Kausik Chanda, who will be hearing the matter regarding the Nandigram poll results, is an active member of the opposition.
Banerjee also West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked for the case to be ‘reassigned’, due to ‘likelihood of bias’.
While TMC dominated in the recent West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021, CM Mamata Banerjee lost to the protégé turned opponent Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram. Since the verdict, Banerjee has been openly challenging the results and has sought re-evaluation of the situation. In that matter, the Calcutta High Court agreed to accept Banerjee’s plea. However, in a new twist to the tale, Banerjee has sought a complete change in the High Court bench citing ‘bias’ of the judge who is to hear the plea.
In a letter written to Calcutta HC, Sanjay Basu, who represents Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, wrote that Justice Chanda was an active BJP member and thus, him hearing the plea may lead to bias.
The letter said-
“My client has filed the election petition challenging the election of Suvendu Adhikari, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The adjudication of election petition shall also have political ramifications. My client has been made aware that Justice Chanda was an active member of the BJP. Thus, in the event the Hon’ble judge takes up the election petition, there will be reasonable apprehension in my client’s mind of bias on the part of the Hon’ble judge in favour of the Respondent and/ or against my client.”
Banerjee had already conveyed objections
Bassu in his letter also wrote that the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had “conveyed her objections and reservations” regarding Kausik Chanda as the judge in the matter and there has been an “apprehension of bias”.
Meanwhile, regarding the same matter, the TMC had earlier shared 2 pictures of Justice Kausik Chanda sharing stage with BJP leader from West Bengal, Dilip Ghosh. Further, when Dilip Ghosh was inquired about the same and asked whether Justice Chanda was in fact a BJP member, Ghosh claimed that ‘he wasn’t sure’, but then went on to say that Justice could have attended BJP’s legal cell programs.
In its tweet, TMC wrote, “Justice Kaushik Chanda is seen sharing a stage with BJP’s @DilipGhoshBJP. Unsurprisingly, he’s also the judge who has been assigned to hear the #Nandigram case. As the Indian Judiciary system gets murkier day by day, will there be any justice in this case? Only time will tell.”
As the Indian Judiciary system gets murkier day by day, will there be any justice in this case? Only time will tell. pic.twitter.com/eE0W8pzbfw
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) June 18, 2021
Moreover, according to Indian Express, Ghosh also admitted to the fact that Justice Chanda “may have appeared” before the Calcutta High Court, representing the BJP.
The Banerjee VS Adhikari Clash
The development emerged when former protégé turned competitor Suvendu Adhikari went on to defeat West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee by a small margin of 1,956 votes in the Nandigram Assembly elections. Although the Banerjee-led dominated the election, the CM chose to file a petition in the Calcutta High Court and is seeking a re-evaluation of the election results.
Adhikari was once upon a time one of the closest of aides to Banerjee. This dynamic transformed in 2020 when he exited TMC and joined the BJP. After his election victory Banerjee alleged foul play and malpractice.
The matter was listed for a hearing before Justice Kausik Chanda on Friday, June 18. However, Banerjee’s counsel – Soumendra Nath Mukherjee – sought the matter to be kept for directions till next week.