Updated: June 24, 2021 10:27:45 pm
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appeared virtually in the hearing of her petition challenging the Nandigram Assembly poll result, in which her former protege and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari won by nearly 2,000 votes.
The Chief Minister was required to be present before a single-bench of the Calcutta Court as per a requirement under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Mamata Banerjee, sought for the recusal of Justice Kausik Chanda before whom the matter was listed.
However, the court asked why the recusal application was not raised on June 18, when the matter was first heard. Justice Chanda also wondered whether he should proceed judicially when the matter was pending before the Chief Justice, who is also the master of the court roster.
The Calcutta High Court, however, reserved its judgment on the plea.
Mamata Banerjee wants the case to be reassigned to a different bench. In a letter written on behalf of the Chief Minister by her advocate, and delivered to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court on June 16, Banerjee outlined two reasons for the request.
Justice Kausik Chanda was associated with the BJP in the past, Banerjee’s letter said, and therefore “reasonable apprehension of bias… in favour of the respondent…”, who is also from the BJP.
Banerjee also said she “reasonably apprehends likelihood of bias” because in April she had objected to Justice Chanda’s confirmation as a permanent judge at Calcutta High Court. “It will lead to a situation and perception whereby the Honourable Judge, in adjudicating the matter, may be said to be ‘judge in his own cause’,” the Chief Minister wrote in her letter.
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