Five-judge Bench is considering all issues, including bail to those arrested.
A five-judge Bench of Calcutta High Court on Thursday heard the Narada case and agreed to make the West Bengal government party to the case. The Bench, which will hear the application again on Friday, agreed to hear first the arguments of the recall application on the May 17 order, where the High Court had cancelled the bail granted to four persons arrested by a city court.
The five-judge Bench, which includes Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee, are hearing the matter after a two-judge Bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee had differences of opinion over granting bail to the accused.
The Central Bureau of Investigation on May 17 had arrested four leaders, including two State government Ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra and former minister Subrata Mukherjee, in connection with the Narada case. During the hearing on Thursday, Justice Mukherjee said that the Bench was considering all issues, including bail to those arrested.
Arguing for the CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised the issue of leaders from the ruling party going to the CBI’s office after the arrests. Mr. Mehta said that if this “mobocracy” was allowed then, in the future, supporters of a gangster may lay siege on a CBI office after an arrest.
The Court responded by asking how Article 226 could be invoked unless Mr. Mehta could prove that the “mobocracy” had an effect on the CBI court. Article 226 grants High Courts the power to issue certain writs.
Appearing for the accused, senior advocate Kalyan Banerjee raised the issue of the High Court cancelling bail to the accused without hearing them. Mr. Banerjee said that he has never in his career of 40 years seen the High Court passing an order in the violation of natural justice.
Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing the accused, said that even if bail was granted and the Court later decided in favour of the CBI on the “mobocracy” issue, the leaders could be jailed again.