The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday reserved its order of the plea of former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhayay and said that it will be pronounced before his scheduled hearing at the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal on November 2.
Bandyopadhyay had moved the court on Tuesday challenging the decision of the CAT’s principal bench to transfer an application filed by him to itself from the Calcutta bench on a prayer by the Union government.
Presently the Chief Advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he had moved the CAT against the Centre’s decision to initiate a probe against him to find out whether he had violated norms by “not attending a meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” at Kalaikunda on May 28.
On a prayer by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for the transfer of the case from the Calcutta bench, the CAT’s principal bench ordered that Bandyopadhyay’s application will be heard by it. He had challenged this order.
Appearing before the court, Bandyopadhyay’s lawyer Shyam Dewan said: “He could not attend the Kalaikunda meeting of the Prime Minister on May 28 as he was busy with the work of Super Cyclone Yash. The Chief Minister had written a letter to the Prime Minister on May 31 informing him of all the details.”
“It was supposed to be re-investigated on November 2. Kolkata was my place of work. So, the case should be here. Besides, there was no hurry,” he said, also citing a recent judgment by the court which, he said, would be relevant in the case.
On the other hand, Centre’s counsel, Vikramjit Bandyopadhyay, said: “The High Court cannot intervene in any case without territorial jurisdiction. The Principal Bench of Delhi has given the direction and so the Calcutta High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the case. Moreover, all the related documents are in Delhi and so the Principal Bench Chairman has given this instruction. Besides, the holiday in Kolkata has been going on for a long time now”.
The division bench of Justices Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and Rabindranath Samanta said: “Though there are holidays, the court is open!”
Justice Bhattacharya then said that the bench would look into the judgement of Justice Nishitha Matre before giving the judgement.
The controversy cropped up on May 28 this year when Bandyopadhyay skipped the meeting of Prime Minister Modi, who had come to Kalaikunda in East Midnapore to assess the destruction caused by the cyclone Yaas.
Bandyopadhyay, who was then the Chief Secretary, had reached the Prime Minister’s meeting with Banerjee and then left along with her to visit Digha to attend a review meeting after the cyclone had hit three coastal districts.
Supposed to retire on May 31, he was given an extension of one year by the Centre on the recommendations of the state government but after the incident, was asked to come to Delhi on central deputation. Bandyopadhyay refused to go for a central deputation and took his superannuation. Immediately after his retirement, Banerjee appointed him as the Chief Adviser.