HC Directs Kolkata Police To File Another Report on Derogatory Posters Outside Judge’s Home

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the police to file a further progress report over derogatory posters outside Justice Rajasekhar Mantha’s residence after finding that the report it submitted was inconclusive.

A three-judge bench of the high court was hearing the contempt of court proceedings over protests outside Justice Mantha’s court.

The court also asked the Bar Council of India, Bar Council of West Bengal and three associations of lawyers at the Calcutta High Court to consider the CCTV footage of January 9, when the agitation took place, and help identify the agitators.

CCTV footage of agitation in front of Justice Mantha’s court has been submitted to the HC by the police.

Finding the report submitted by the police inconclusive, the bench, comprising justices TS Sivagnanam, IP Mukerji and Chitta Ranjan Dash, directed the Kolkata Police to file a further progress report on the investigation on March 15, the next date of hearing of the case.

The larger bench had on January 17 directed the Kolkata police commissioner to file a report before it as to who placed orders for printing the posters, the printer’s name and persons who affixed the posters outside the south Kolkata residence of Justice Mantha.

The court said that in a criminal contempt proceeding, identification of the accused person is necessary and sought these associations’ cooperation in identifying those who allegedly played a role in blocking lawyers and litigants from entering the court of Justice Mantha.

Some advocates and other persons had resorted to protests outside Justice Mantha’s courtroom on January 9 over some orders passed by him.

Derogatory posters were also seen on walls outside Justice Mantha’s residence at Jodhpur Park in south Kolkata on the same day.

Considering the gravity of the issues, Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava formed the three-judge bench on January 12 to hear the suo motu rule of contempt issued by Justice Mantha on January 10.

Issuing the rule of contempt against some advocates and other persons who allegedly blocked his courtroom and locked it from the outside and also over derogatory posters outside his residence, Justice Mantha said that the acts amount to interference in the administration of justice.

The larger bench also expressed its displeasure at some advocates who represent the state not appearing before the court of Justice Mantha.

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