The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had appealed to the court to remove Justice Kaushik Chanda from hearing her case against BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s election win in Nandigram.
The application of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo was rejected by Justice Chanda himself. He, however, has decided not to hear the case any further on his own personal discretion and released the case from his bench, said those familiar with the development.
Earlier, Banerjee had sent a letter to the Acting chief justice of the Calcutta high court, mentioning her objection to Justice Chanda's appointment as a permanent judge over "likelihood of bias", citing his associations with the BJP during his days as a lawyer.
Justice Chanda had on June 24 reserved order on Banerjee's application that the judge recuses himself from hearing her election petition apprehending bias on his part.
Justice Chanda released the election petition of Banerjee from his court. The matter will be referred to Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal for assigning it to a different bench.
Seeking his recusal, it was claimed that Justice Chanda was an active member of the BJP till his appointment as the Additional Solicitor General of India in 2015 and since the election of a BJP candidate has been challenged, there were apprehensions of bias in the adjudication of the election petition.
Justice Chanda had said that he was never a convenor of the BJP Legal Cell, but had appeared in many cases representing the party before the Calcutta High Court.
Banerjee's counsel had earlier written to the Acting Chief Justice of the high court seeking reassignment of her election petition to another bench.
With PTI inputs