West Bengal CM has sought election petition filed in the Nandigram results to be assigned to another Bench.
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday reserved its order on a recusal application filed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging that the election petition filed in the Nandigram results be assigned to another Bench.
Ms. Banerjee virtually participated in the hearing at the Calcutta High Court that went on for some hours. Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, who appeared for the Chief Minister, sought recusal of Justice Kausik Chanda on grounds of his association with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a lawyer. Reading from the recusal application filed by Ms. Banerjee, Dr. Singhvi said that posts on various social media platforms suggested that Justice Chanda had a “close, pecuniary, personal, professional and ideological relationship with the BJP” and “close relationship with prominent leaders such as Dilip Ghosh and Tathagata Roy”.
Justice Chanda asked why the recusal petition had not been presented before him on June 18, when the matter was brought before him for hearing. During the hearing, there had been cordial discussions between the parties on the matter, and Justice Chanda observed that when he had first appeared for the BJP as a lawyer, he had not known the full name of the party.
Dr. Singhvi remarked that since then the BJP has made large strides in the State of West Bengal. The senior advocate added that the judge would only be elevating his stature by recusing himself from hearing the petition. Dr. Singhvi pointed out that two judges of the Supreme Court had recused themselves from hearing matters related to West Bengal.
Justice Chanda said that while Dr. Singhvi was associated with the Indian National Congress party, other counsel having links to the BJP were appearing for the Trinamool Congress in the case. He also asked if he would not be giving in to a media trial if he recused himself from the case. He added that he would think it over and reserved the judgment in the case.
Earlier this month, Ms. Banerjee had filed an election petition alleging irregularities in the counting exercise of the Nandigram Assembly results. According to the result declared by the Election Commission on May 2, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari had defeated Ms. Banerjee by a narrow 1,956 votes.