On Friday (June 25), the West Bengal Bar Council wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, seeking the removal of Justice Rajesh Bindal from the post of the Acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. The letter was signed by advocate Ashok Kumar Deb, who serves as the Trinamool Congress MLA and the Chairman of the West Bengal Bar Council.
Reportedly, the Bar Council alleged that Justice Bindal was ‘biased’ towards the BJP and had ‘improperly’ listed and heard high profile cases such as Narada Scam, the election petition of Mamata Banerjee, and the case pertaining to medicine wastage in West Bengal. “Justice Bindal is a partial, unfair and biased judge whose continuance at High Court interferes with fair and impartial dispensation of justice,” it claimed.
While highlighting the Narada sting case, the letter claimed that the decision of the Calcutta High Court to reject the interim bail of 4 TMC leaders was an indication of Justice Bindal’s alleged bias. It further stated that the decision of the High Court to overrule the CBI special Court order even compelled Justice Sinha to condemn the act in the form of a letter.
Ashok Kumar Deb, advocate and TMC MLA, alleged that there were pictures of Justice Rajesh Bindal and West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar. He added, “The picture coupled with the conduct of Justice Bindal seem to suggest that he is doing the bidding of the Governor at Calcutta High Court.” In his letter, he accused the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court of allowing repeated requests by CBI to file affidavits but denying similar requests from Mamata Banerjee and State Law Minister Moloy Ghatak.
The West Bengal Bar Council further alleged that the social media posts of Justice Bindal gave the impression that he was a ‘BJP’s man.’ It accused the Acting Chief Justice of transferring the hearing of the election petition of Mamata Banerjee from Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya to another ‘biased BJP man’ Justice Kausik Chanda. The letter concluded, “We request Your Lordship to take immediate steps for removal of Justice Rajesh Bindal as judge of Calcutta High Court so that the majesty and sanctity of Calcutta High Court is upheld.”
It must be mentioned that Justice Bindal was appointed as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2006. Later in December 2020, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court for Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh. He was then transferred to the Calcutta High Court in January this year and appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Court on April 28, 2021.
Mamata Banerjee calls Judge ‘BJP member’ to cast doubts on Judiciary
Recently, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has fired off a letter to the Acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Rajesh Bindal objecting to the listing of her petition before Justice Kaushik Chanda. The petition pertains to the re-evaluation of the voting results in the Nandigram constituency, where she lost elections to her rival Suvendu Adhikari.
The letter alleged that Justice Kaushik Chanda was an ‘active member of BJP’ and that the petition of Mamata Banerjee will have political ramifications. Counsel Sanjay Basu urged the Court to reassign the case to another Judge to resolve the apprehension of bias against the West Bengal CM. He said that the case ought to be reassigned to ensure public confidence in the Judiciary so that it did not appear that Justice Kaushik Chanda was a ‘Judge in his own case.’