Calcutta HC imposes fine of Rs 5 lakh on Mamata Banerjee for “painting the judiciary in a bad light”

Kolkata : Calcutta High Court today imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had moved an appeal seeking recusal of Justice Kaushik Chanda from her Nandigram election petition over the judge’s alleged links with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Justice Chandra rejected the application of Banerjee and rescued himself from the case before imposing the fine of Rs 5 lakh.

Justice Chandra said the penalty money of Rs 5 lakh will have to be deposited to the Calcutta High Court Bar Council Association account and it will be spent for the welfare of the members of the association affected by Covid-19.

Banerjee’s counsel had appealed for transfer of the case from Justice Chanda’s bench citing bias as they claimed that Justice Chanda has often been seen with BJP leaders.

“If a person appears for a political party, it is uncommon but he lays aside his bias while hearing a case. In this case, pecuniary interest does not arise,” said Justice Chanda during the hearing and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner.

“Banerjee is painting the judiciary in a bad light,” he said.

“A deliberate and absolute attempt was made to affect my decision even before the case was heard.

“It is preposterous to suggest that a judge who has an association with a political party for a case. A judge cannot be seen to be biased because of the litigant’s view,” the judge said.

According to the Bar and Bench, Justice Chanda had served as the Additional Solicitor General for the BJP government before he was elevated to the Calcutta HC bench.

The court took objection to the manner in which the demand for the judge’s recusal was made.

“Immediately after June 18 hearing, TMC leaders were ready with my photos and put out tweets of my association with BJP,” observed Justice Chanda.

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