The Calcutta High Court on Monday said that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee cannot be made a party to a PIL filed over derogatory comments made by a member of the cabinet led by her, referring to the looks of President Droupadi Murmu in November last year.
After hearing the PIL in the matter, the division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj ruled that the onus of the derogatory comments made by West Bengal Minister in-charge of Correctional Services Department, Akhil Giri cannot be on the chief minister.
“The chief minister is no way related to the matter. There is no justification in making a party in this case. So, her name be deleted as a party in the matter,” the division bench had observed.
In November last year, a video went viral where Akhil Giri was heard making derogatory comments against the Indian President. “We do not judge people by their looks. We respect the chair of the Indian President. But my question is how does the President look,” Giri was heard saying in the video.
The development resulted into a major political slugfest with all the opposition parties launching a scathing attack against the state government and Giri, with some of them demanding his expulsion from the state cabinet and even as a member of legislative assembly of the state.
Giri even faced wrath from his own party leaders and fellow members in the state cabinet especially those representing the tribal community.
In the face of large-scale criticisms from different quarters of the society, the chief minister finally spoke out over the matter almost after a week since the video went viral and apologized on behalf of Giri. “The President is a beautiful woman. I condemn such comments against her. I apologize on behalf of the party MLA,” the chief minister said.
Soon after, Giri tendered an unconditional apology for his comments. In the same month, the PIL was filed at the Calcutta High Court in the matter making the chief minister a party. However, finally on Monday, the division bench asked for deletion of the chief minister’s name in the PIL.