Lawyers in the case also have political affiliations. One is from Congress, the other has a BJP background, yet the two are appearing for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, said Calcutta High Court additional judge Kaushik Chanda on Thursday. The observation was made while reserving the judgment in the recusal application moved by West Bengal CM in petition against Suvendu Adhikari’s win from Nandigram constituency.
“You lawyers also have political affiliations. You (Abhishek Manu Singhvi) are from the Congress and SN Mookherjee has BJP background. But you are appearing for
Trinamool chief. If lawyers of other political backgrounds can be trusted, why can’t you trust the Judge with it," asked Chanda. The judge did not specify the date for pronouncement of the verdict.
In a letter to the secretary of the acting chief justice of the Calcutta high court, Banerjee’s counsel Sanjay Basu had said the CM had already “conveyed her objections and reservations" about Justice Chanda’s confirmation as permanent judge, and so there was “reasonable apprehension…of bias".
The Bengal CM had said that the judge was an ‘active member of the BJP’ and asked for the case to be reassigned.
The Election Commission had last month declared Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly, winner of the Nandigram seat after a close competition with his former mentor. According to the result declared by the Election Commission on May 2, Adhikari defeated the TMC chief by 1956 votes.
Banerjee has accused Adhikari, her former confidante-turned-rival, of committing corrupt practices in violation of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. She also alleged irregularities were committed in the counting exercise.
The West Bengal chief minister had sought recounting of votes after her defeat by a slender margin but the returning officer turned down the request.