In a major development, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for ”putting the judiciary in a bad light.”
Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench led by Justice Kausik Chanda passed the order while recusing himself from hearing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s election petition challenging BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s win from the Nandigram Constituency in the recently held state assembly polls.
The amount will be used for lawyers’ families who have been affected by COVID-19, the high court bench said.
Justice Kausik Chanda was hearing Banerjee’s petition seeking his recusal from hearing her plea challenging BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s win from the Nandigram Constituency in the recently held state assembly polls.
It may be noted that Suvendu Adhikari had won the election against Mamata Banerjee by nearly 1956 votes.
Filing an application, the Chief Minister had earlier objected to Justice Chanda hearing her petition citing “likelihood of bias “due to the associations he had with the BJP during his days as a lawyer.”
Expressing his strong displeasure over the issue, the judge said, “The unfortunate part is that the letter written to the acting Chief Justice was leaked with highly confidential contents maligning me.”
“I am unable to convince myself that there is a conflict of interest. The applicant has taken too somber a view of the integrity of a Judge. However, I am going to recuse myself from hearing the case,” Justice Kausik Chanda said. “A deliberate or conscious attempt was made to affect my judgement,” he added.
The judge decided to recuse himself from the case so that “trouble-mongers” don’t get an opportunity to keep the controversy alive. “It will be contrary to the interests of justice if such unwarranted problem continues along with trial,” Justice Chanda said while stepping away from the case.
The matter will now be referred to Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal for assigning it to a different bench.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier also written a letter to the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Rajesh Bindal urging him to reassign her election petition to another judge (other than Justice Kausik Chanda) to avoid prejudice against herself.