SC changes HC judge for Bengal recruitment scam case; BJP unhappy

Top court takes strong objection to Calcutta HC judge Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay giving a TV interview on a sub-judice matter

| Updated: 28 April, 2023 3:48 pm IST
Supreme Court of India (file photo)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday transferred the recruitment “scam” cases in West Bengal from the bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay to a different bench at the Calcutta High Court.

The apex court issued instructions based on the report received from the Calcutta High Court regarding a television interview given by Justice Gangopadhyay regarding the case.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha went through the transcript of the interview given to a Bengali language TV news channel.

The order came on a petition challenging Calcutta HC’s order directing CBI and ED to question Banerjee in the teachers’ recruitment scam case in West Bengal.

Taking strong exception to a TV interview given by Justice Gangopadhyay – a sitting judge – about a case related to teachers’ recruitment scam in West Bengal, the top court on Monday said judges should not give interviews on cases pending before them.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Banerjee, had submitted a translated transcript of Justice Gangopadhyay’s TV interview to the bench.

On April 17, the Supreme Court stayed the high court’s April 13 order directing the CBI and the ED to interrogate Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh, an accused in the case, and file a report.

Earlier, Justice Gangopadhyay had directed the state police not to lodge any FIR against CBI and ED officers probing the scam while taking note of Banerjee’s public speech alleging that Ghosh was being pressured by the central probe agencies to name him in the case.

Banerjee, nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, welcomed the order. “Be it the Supreme Court, or any other court, we have utmost respect for the judiciary of India. We have complete trust in the judicial system of our country. Since the matter is sub-judice, I would not like to comment on this, although I myself was the petitioner in this case,” he said.

West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, however, expressed disappointment saying “people” doubt CJI Chandrachud and the apex court’s intentions.

“It is unfortunate. We can’t say anything since it is the Supreme Court. But there is a doubt among the people of Bengal as to why the CJI and the Supreme Court are giving patronage to those who are selling government jobs,” he said.

Referring to the judge’s TV interview and his recent orders, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Dr Shantanu Sen said: “Judiciary is one of the most important pillars of democracy. The custodian of the judiciary should be more cautious and careful. Their activities, their speeches, their attitude creates some confusion in the minds of the people.”

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