Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court Thursday admitted a contempt of court petition against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her remarks alleging corruption in the judiciary.
On the petition filed by Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the court ordered four media houses, which telecast or published Banerjee’s statements, to file affidavits within three weeks.
“The bench of Justice K.J. Sengupta and Justice A.K. Mondal has admitted our contempt petition and ordered two TV news channels and two English dailies to file an affidavit confirming the veracity of the reports they published/broadcast about the remarks on judiciary made by Banerjee,” Bhattacharya said.
A group of lawyers also moved the court seeking suo motu proceedings against the chief minister.
The court refused to start the suo motu proceedings and sought a copy of Banerjee’s speech Tuesday in the state assembly during which she made the allegations.
Speaking on the occasion of the assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations, Banerjee alleged corruption among a section of the judiciary.
Her comment on the judiciary came a day after the state human rights commission slapped a Rs.50,000 fine on police for arresting a Jadavpur University professor, Ambikesh Mahapatra, for circulating e-mails containing cartoons of the chief minister and other Trinamool Congress leaders in April.
The chief minister’s allegations attracted criticism from all quarters, including lawyers and former judges.
Former attorney general Soli Sorabjee demanded action against Banerjee and said: “You can’t make such baseless, scandalous allegations. What about the cases she has won in court? Who paid the judges? This shows the absurdity of the allegations. I am very, very disturbed.”
“It is unbecoming of a chief minister to hurl such allegations,” said former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.