West Bengal Bar Council seeks removal of ACJ of Calcutta HC

The battle between Acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and the Trinamool Congress turned murkier after the Bar Council of West Bengal, controlled by the ruling party, wrote to the Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, asking him to remove Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal alleging that he is a “prejudiced, biased and skewed Judge”.

The letter came few days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee objected to the assignment of Justice Kausik Chanda for hearing her petition challenging the election of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, alleging that Chanda has a long association with the BJP. The chief minister wrote to Bindal to reassign the case to some other judge. The case is still pending with the court.

Referring to the case, the chairman of the Bar Council of West Bengal, Ashoke Deb who is also an MLA of ruling Trinamool Congress, wrote, “Mamata Banerjee had filed an election petition before the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court challenging the victory of Suvendu Adhikari in the West Bengal assembly elections. Election petitions are civil matters heard by single Judge presiding over the original side of the Calcutta High Court”

“The said matter was filed and mentioned before the single bench headed by Hon’ble Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and His Lordship was pleased to fix the said matter for hearing. In the meantime, Hon’ble Justice Bindal snatched away the matter from Justice Bhattacharya’s determination and assigned the same to his favourite judge Hon’ble Justice Kausik Chanda,” the letter said.

“Hon’ble Justice Bindal is responsible for brewing a storm at the Calcutta High Court by assigning the matter to Hon’ble Justice Kausik Chanda while being completely and fully aware of Hon’ble Justice Chanda’s long-standing association with the BJP. Any reasonable person having a basic sense of ethics and morality would not have done something so ludicrous,” it said.

Citing further instances and expressing serious doubts in the way the Narada case was handled, the letter said, “The way Hon’ble Justice Bindal has dealt with W.P.A. 10504 of 2021 (CBI, ACB, Kolkata – Versus Sr Firhad Hakim @ Bobby Hakim & Ors, also known as the “Narada Bail Matter”) sets serious doubts over the conduct and character of Hon’ble Justice Bindal”.

“Hon’ble Justice Bindal by an order dated 17.05.2021 had stayed an interim order of the bail passed by the Special CBI Court in favour of members of a certain political dispensation without giving the aggrieved parties an opportunity of being heard,” the letter added.

“If that was not all, the manner in which the Central Bureau of Investigation had approached the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court by way of an application/letter, based on which an interim order of bail was stayed and the liberty/relief granted to the accused persons were snatched away, indicates that Hon’ble Justice Bindal does not have any regard for judicial propriety and has committed a mockery of the judicial conscience,” the letter said.

Alleging Bindal to be an “unfair, partial and biased judge” with long association with the BJP, the letter said, “Further vide various social media posts an impression is sought to be given that Hon’ble Justice Bindal is BJP’s man through and through. There are pictures of Hon’ble Justice Bindal visiting the Hon’ble Governor Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar’s house which are widely published on social media. These pictures coupled with the conduct of Hon’ble Justice Bindal mentioned above seems to suggest that he is doing the bidding of the Hon’ble Governor at the Calcutta High Court”.

“We beseech Your Lordship to take immediate steps for removal of Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Bindal as a Judge of Calcutta High Court so that the majesty and sanctity of the court is upheld and to ensure people’s confidence in the judiciary does not fall to pieces. Unless urgent steps are taken for the removal of Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Bindal, we will be mute spectators to the continuous travesty of justice at the hands of a prejudiced, biased and skewed Judge and justice will be denied to the unguarded citizens of this great nation,” the letter said.