June 1, 2021 3:52:50 am
The West Bengal government on Monday told the five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court that the CBI’s application for transfer of the Narada sting tape case from a lower court to the High Court should not be heard by a division bench as it does not have jurisdiction as per the appellate rules or letters patent. Instead, it should be heard by a single-bench judge, the government said.
Representing the West Bengal government, Advocate General Kishore Dutta told the five-judge bench of the High Court: “This matter (CBI’s plea for transfer of case) should not have been heard by a Division Bench of the High Court. It does not have jurisdiction as per appellate rules or letters patent to hear this matter.”
Seconding him, senior advocate Kalyan Bandyopadhyay said, “The country also wants to know whether the rules of the court can be dispensed with.”
A division bench of the High Court had referred the matter to a larger bench of five judges following differences between Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee over granting interim bail to two West Bengal ministers, an MLA and a former mayor of the city, arrested by CBI in the Narada sting case.
The CBI has sought transfer of the case alleging extraordinary circumstances. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna in the CBI office after the arrests and the agency was not able to produce TMC ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee in court physically owing to protests outside its office complex.
Representing the CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said “a constitutional court cannot throw away the matter on technical grounds”.
Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal said that the advocate general cannot dictate terms on how the court should hear a matter. The court was adjourned till Tuesday.
The five-judge bench comprises Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices I P Mukherji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee.
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