The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s petition challenging the Assembly election results in Nandigram constituency, Live Law reported.
The court ordered the Election Commission to preserve all documents and videos related to elections in the constituency.
On Wednesday evening, Adhikari moved the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of Banerjee’s petition out of West Bengal, according to Bar and Bench.
There was massive confusion surrounding the results of the key seat on the day of the counting of votes on May 2. Around 4.30 pm, reports emerged that Banerjee had won the seat by a margin of 1,200 votes even though counting was still underway. Later, the Election Commission declared Adhikari the winner with a margin of 1,956 votes.
Banerjee alleged that there was “looting and cheating” in the process and urged the Election Commission to order a recount of votes. After the Election Commission denied her request, Banerjee moved the High Court.
Admitting Banerjee’s petition on Wednesday, Justice Shampa Sarkar set August 12 as the next date for the hearing. “Pending the decision of the case, all documents, election papers, devices, video recordings etc connected with the election which is under challenge before this court shall be preserved by the concerned authority,” the judge said, according to Live Law.
However, Adhikari cited the remarks of Justice Kausik Chanda, who had previously been assigned to the case, to seek the transfer of Banerjee’s petition out of West Bengal.
“Since the two persons involved in this case belong to the highest echelon of the state politics, in the name of saving the judiciary, some opportunists have already emerged,” the judge had said on July 7, according to Live Law. “These trouble-mongers will try to keep the controversy alive and create newer controversies...It would be contrary to the interest of justice if such unwarranted squabble continues along with the trial of the case.”
Chanda had dropped out of the case on July 7. Banerjee had objected to him hearing the case on grounds he was an active member of the BJP before he became a judge and could be biased.
Though he recused from the case, Chanda fined Banerjee Rs 5 lakh for the way she sought his withdrawal. “I am unable to convince myself that there is a conflict of interest,” Chanda had said. “The applicant has taken too somber a view of [the] integrity of a judge. I have no personal inclination to hear out the petitioner’s case. I have no hesitation in taking up this case either. It is my constitutional duty to hear out a case assigned to me by the chief justice.”