KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s counsel Friday wrote to the secretary of the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, seeking reassignment of her petition challenging the election of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram, to another bench.
Claiming Banerjee has been made aware that Justice Kausik Chanda, who is hearing her plea, was “an active member of the BJP” and since the adjudication of the election petition will have political ramifications, it was prayed that the matter be assigned to another judge by the Acting Chief Justice, who is the master of roster.
The CM’s lawyer also stated in the letter that she “had objected to the confirmation of the Hon’ble Judge as a Permanent Judge of the Hon’ble High Court at Calcutta” and as such, apprehends there is a likelihood of bias on the part of the judge concerned.
Banerjee’s counsel urged that the letter be placed before the Acting Chief Justice forthwith “for necessary re- assignment of Election Petition so as to avoid any prejudice and/or presumption of prejudice”.
Justice Chanda earlier in the day adjourned till June 24 Banerjee’s petition for declaring election of Suvendu Adhikari, at present the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, from Nandigram null and void.
Meanwhile, a section of lawyers staged a protest in front of the high court over Justice Chanda being assigned to hear the election petition by the Trinamool Congress supremo.
“We have no personal ill-feeling or allegation against the judge, but he was associated with a particular political party,” one of the lawyers said.
The judge should recuse himself from hearing Banerjee’s plea, he added.