The Calcutta High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking contempt proceedings against Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee for his comment about the judiciary, Live Law reported.
At a party workers meeting in West Bengal’s Haldia city on Saturday, the Diamond Harbour MP said that a “fraction of the judiciary” was being instructed to order the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into “every case in the state”, according to the Hindustan Times.
He added, “One or two persons [of the judiciary] are working with an understanding. Not all, only one per cent. They are ordering CBI investigations in every case. They are even ordering stay on ongoing murder probes. Have you ever heard of this? You cannot order a stay on a murder investigation.”
His comment came after the Calcutta High Court passed consecutive orders asking the Central Bureau of Investigation to take action against the Trinamool Congress-led state government.
Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The MP and his wife Rujira Banerjee are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate in a case of alleged illegal mining and theft of coal from the mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited in West Bengal’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas. Both of them have denied the charges.
On Monday, a bench of Justices Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya and Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee was hearing a plea seeking suo motu contempt proceedings against Abhishek Banerjee, Live Law reported.
“In the present case, undoubtedly the comments uttered by the person in question may not be palatable to the general public and or the members of the judiciary,” the bench said. “However, such nature of the act need not have the effect tantamounting to a contumacious act, justifying issuance of a suo motu rule of contempt.”
The judges observed that filing a suo motu contempt case is an “extreme measure”.
“Power always goes hand-in-hand with responsibility and restraint,” the bench said.
Meanwhile, senior Trinamool Congress leader Chandrima Bhattacharya defended Banerjee’s remarks, PTI reported.
“Abhishek Banerjee had not said anything which tantamount to contempt of court,” she said. “He spoke about the judiciary and anyone can talk about the judiciary. There is a saying that justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done.”
On Monday, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar directed the state chief secretary to initiate action against Banerjee and update him about the progress in the case by June 6.
Bhattacharya, however, accused Dhankar of “trying to score brownie points” on the matter, PTI reported.
“His [the governor’s] comments should not be taken seriously,” Bhattacharya said. “We all know what sort of lawyer he was.”