KOLKATA: A Calcutta High Court judge on Wednesday recused himself from hearing Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s pettition challenging the Nandigram election result, and imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on her for the manner in which the application seeking recusal was moved.
In the order, Justice Kaushik Chanda said it was preposterous to think that a judge will not be able to do his duty without a sense of detachment if he or she has political inclinations and described TMC’s act of uploading photographs showing his presence with BJP leaders as “calculated psychological offensive’’.
Earlier, Mamata’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi had appealed for transfer of the the case from Justice Chanda’s court citing his proximity to a number of BJP leaders. “I am unable to persuade myself to agree to the proposition as advanced by Mr. Singhvi that there is a conflict of interest in the matter…
The argument of Mr. Singhvi takes too sombre a view of the integrity of a judge,’’ Chanda observed in his order. “When a litigant raises the question of bias against a judge, who has taken the oath to discharge his duties without any fear or favour, the test has to be a real likelihood of bias or real danger of bias.
The appearance of impartiality, in such a case, should not be viewed from the perspective of a common man.” The calculated psychological offensive and vilification adopted to seek recusal need to firmly repulsed, the judge said.