Nandigram case: Mamata Banerjee wants Justice Chanda to recuse, cites BJP link

Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal Chief Minister, came in court on Monday to protest the results of the Nandigram Assembly election, which her erstwhile protege and BJP politician Suvendu Adhikari won by roughly 2,000 votes.

According to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Chief Minister was obligated to appear before a single-bench of the Calcutta Court.

On behalf of Mamata Banerjee, senior attorney Abhishek Manu Singhvi requested that Justice Kausik Chanda recuse himself from the case.

The court, however, questioned why the recusal application was not brought up when the case was initially heard on June 18. Justice Chanda also pondered whether he should move through the legal system.

Mamata Banerjee is requesting that the case be remanded to a another bench. Banerjee listed two reasons for the request in a letter written on her behalf by her lawyer and delivered to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court on June 16. According to Banerjee’s letter, Justice Kausik Chanda had previously been linked with the BJP, and hence “legitimate concern of prejudice… in favour of the respondent…”, who is also from the BJP.

Banerjee further stated that she “fairly anticipates the risk of prejudice” because she opposed Justice Chanda’s confirmation as a permanent judge on the Calcutta High Court in April.

“It will lead to a circumstance and perception in which the Honourable Judge may be regarded to be ‘a judge in his own cause’ in adjudicating the subject,” the Chief Minister stated in her letter.

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