The already strained relations between the state government and the judiciary seems to have taken another hit with Justice Sanjib Banerjee of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday terming some cabinet ministers as goons during a hearing on the police refusing permission to sex workers for organising a Durga Puja at Sonagachi in central Kolkata.
The court,while expressing displeasure at the rampant blocking of important thoroughfares for Durga pujas,had said that it has been alleged that ministers were behaving like goons in organising pujas and the state was not taking any step. How can the puja organised by Ekdalia Evergreen (patronised by Minister for Panchayat Subrata Mukherjee in Ballygunj) be organised? …some ministers behave like goons, Justice Banerjee had stated during the hearing.
The state government,however,saw red. While Tuesday saw several ministers like Subrata Mukherjee,Partha Chatterjee,Madan Mitra,Firhad Hakim,Arup Biswas who are involved in organising Durga pujas in their localities protesting against the remark,Mukherjee on Wednesday hinted that the government would protest against the matter to higher authorities like the SC.
We will send strictures against it, Mukherjee said. He,however,did not specify what exactly the government was going to do. According to law department officials,the government can write to the Supreme Court or the President protesting against the remarks of a high court judge.
Irked that the remark came without any provocation,Mukherjee said: What have we done that you are making this comment suo motu. The puja at my locality is being organised for the last 70 years. What hooliganism has the honourable judge seen in us?
Claiming that she was shocked by the remarks,Minister of State for Law and Health Chandrima Bhattacharya said: The judge who made the remark and the ministers who bore his brunt were all creations of the Constitution. One cannot make such damaging remarks against the other. The judges remarks are most unfortunate… in my 33 years of legal practice,I have never seen such thing.
TMC General Secretary Mukul Roy too took exception to the remarks. We demand total transparency in the appointment of judges and a new judicial commission, Roy said.
Party MP and SC advocate Kalyan Banerjee,however,said that since the judge made the remark orally and not write anything in the judgment,the government would be lenient. It was not part of any judgment nor was it an observation. So,we wont do anything… but the judge of course abused his power. The comment was unwarranted and uncalled for, he said.