After Justice Indira Banerjee on Friday withdrew from hearing a petition filed by the families of two BJP activists killed in the post-poll violence in West Bengal seeking a CBI/SIT probe, another judge and notably a Supreme Court Justice has recused himself from hearing a case involving the Mamata Banerjee government.
Reportedly, the Supreme Court vacation bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Aniruddha Bose was set to hear arguments from the state of West Bengal, CM Mamata Banerjee and her Law Minister Moloy Ghatak challenging a June 9 order of the Calcutta High Court order refusing to take their reply affidavits on record in the transfer plea filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Narada case.
When the hearing began on Tuesday, June 22, Justice Gupta speaking on behalf of his colleague/brother said that Justice Bose has some reservations in hearing the matter. Justice Gupta said, “It will be listed before some other Bench. Brother Bose has some reservations.”
According to a Bar and Bench report, Justice Gupta, presiding over the bench, said the issue would be now placed before Chief Justice NV Ramana who may take the decision and the pleas may be listed for hearing during the day itself.
Narada Scam and Mamata trying to stall the proceedings
Reported extensively by TFI, CBI is looking to transfer the Narada case hearing from the Special CBI court in Kolkata owing to the increasing lawlessness in the state which has been hampering the work of the premier investigative agency, especially when the culprits involved are from the top hierarchy of the ruling TMC party.
In May, when CBI was supposed to present the arrested TMC leaders in front of the court, a huge crowd of alleged TMC goons led by none other than Mamata gathered outside the CBI’s Kolkata office in the Nizam Palace area, apparently looking to frighten the agency.
Mamata Banerjee, held a dharna at the spot, contending that the way the ministers were arrested “without due procedure”, the CBI “will have to arrest me too”. Mamata was the one who ensured that a large crowd of miscreants was present at the spot and media cameras were all pointed out at the CBI office.
The agency later in its petition laid bare the truth by remarking that ‘gheraoing’ of the CBI office was “part of the larger and well thought of design to terrorise the investigating agency and prevent it from discharging its statutory functions freely and fearlessly”.
Stepping down of Justice Indira Banerjee
As reported by TFI, last week, the division bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice MR Shah was hearing the writ petition filed by Biswajit Sarkar, brother of one of the deceased BJP member killed in the post-poll violence in the state. However, as soon as the hearing started, Justice Indira announced, “I have some difficulty in hearing this matter. Let this matter be listed before another bench.” Then, she recused herself from the case.
After Justice Indira stepped down, the matter was adjourned and the registry was directed to list the case before a bench where Justice Banerjee was not present.
The fact that two high-profile judges have recused themselves from cases pertaining to the West Bengal government, in a short span of a week, indubitably makes up forbad optics for the Judiciary, which is thought of as independent, bold, fearless and revered by the millions of Indians as a noble institution.
The TMC supremo has reportedly been infamous for her ‘reign of terror’ where political killings, lynchings and bombings are everyday occurrences. Mamata’s reign thus seems eerily similar to that of Colombian drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar who used to keep the legislature, executive and judiciary, all under his thumb.