The hearing on a PIL filed in the Calcutta High Court against West Bengal MoS in-charge of Correctional Services Department, Akhil Giri, for his derogatory remarks referring to the looks of President Droupadi Murmu was postponed on Tuesday.
While Giri claimed that he is yet to receive a copy of the petition, the petitioner, Sushmita Saha, who is an advocate by profession, claimed in the court that the minister refused to accept the copy of the plea.
Saha informed the court that instead of depending on postal service, she had personally sent a copy of the petition to Giri through a messenger. However, the minister refused to accept it, Saha claimed.
After hearing the matter, the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj ordered that a fresh copy of the petition be sent to Giri.
“I hope he will accept the document this time,” Srivastava said.
Giri had triggered a controversy last Friday when he said at a public rally in Nandigram, “We don’t judge anyone by their appearance… We respect the office of the President. But how does our President look?”
The remark drew severe criticism from different quarters.
In her petition, Saha argued that passing derogatory comments about the Indian President was tantamount to insulting the Constitution.
Claiming that making such a statement about the constitutional head of the country is unpardonable, she argued that the West Bengal government is not taking action against the minister on this count. Hence, she said, the court should take appropriate steps against Giri.
Meanwhile, the question that is doing the rounds is even after Trinamool censuring Giri and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself apologising for his comments, why is the state government hesitant on taking disciplinary action against the MLA from Ramnagar Assembly constituency.
Political observers feel that since Giri is the face of Trinamool’s organisational network in East Midnapore district, where leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari has a strong base, any disciplinary action against him at this point might render Giri and his supporters inactive in the district before the panchayat polls scheduled next year.