Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court, who recently accused a fellow judge of acting in the interest of a political party in West Bengal, announced on Sunday that he will resign as a judge and join politics.

“I am not telling you today which party I will begin with,” Justice Gangopadhyay said in an interview with Bengali television news channel ABP Ananda. “I want to first finish the little work that is still left in court. Tomorrow, I will wrap that up.”

He said he will then inform the chief justice of India of his decision orally and will send in a formal resignation to the president on Tuesday.

Justice Gangopadhyay joined the Calcutta High Court as an additional judge in 2018 and was made a permanent judge in 2020.

In the past two years, he ordered investigations by central agencies into several cases of alleged irregularities. These cases were about alleged irregularities in recruitment by the state education department as well as by civic bodies and, more recently, alleged violation of norms in medical admissions.

Medical admissions case

On January 24, Justice Gangopadhyay ordered an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into alleged irregularities in medical admissions in state-run colleges in West Bengal, even though the petitioner had not made such a demand.

Later that day, the Trinamool Congress government in the state moved the division bench of Justices Soumen Sen and Uday Kumar that stayed the single-judge bench’s order.

However, on the same afternoon, Justice Gangopadhyay allowed the documents of the case to be handed over to the CBI. On January 25, the judge passed another directive stating that the division bench’s stay order should be ignored, although legal precedent requires that a single judge must comply with the order of a larger bench.

Justice Gangopadhyay also accused Justice Sen of being an “interested party”.

The Supreme Court then intervened and stayed all proceedings before the two benches. Following this, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam reassigned all cases relating to primary education that were to be heard by Justice Gangopadhyay.

Political reactions

After Justice Gangopadhyay’s announcement, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Debangshu Bhattacharya on Sunday thanked him for proving his party right. “We have been saying for long that he is a political party worker,” he said, reported The Indian Express.

On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party West Bengal chief Sukanta Majumdar welcomed the judge’s decision.

“People like Abhijit Gangopadhyay joining politics is something that is in the country’s favour,” said Majumdar. “I guess the BJP would be his natural choice.”

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called the judge a crusader against corruption. “If he wants to join the Congress, we will give him a warm welcome,” he said. “He is a fighter. If he joins the BJP, then ideologically we cannot support [him].”