SC asks Calcutta HC acting chief justice to reassign WB school jobs ‘scam’ case to other bench

he Supreme Court Friday asked the Calcutta High Court acting chief justice to reassign the West Bengal school jobs “scam” case to another judge after examining a report on Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay’s interview to a news channel about the matter.

Hearing a plea of TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha took note of the report of the Registrar General of the Calcutta High Court and said the case has to be reassigned to a bench headed by another judge.

“We direct the Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court to re-assign the pending proceedings to some other judge of the Calcutta High Court. The Judge to whom the proceedings are assigned would be at liberty to take up all applications moved in this regard,” the bench said in its order.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there was a “pattern” going on and the judges are targeted for their judgements if they do not go as per the wishes of a particular person.

“Judges should not be browbeaten,” the top law officer said, referring to the public speech made by Abhishek Banerjee allegedly threatening judges.

“I have something to say and this is a disturbing thing. There is a pattern going on and once a verdict goes against a ruling dispensation, the judges are targeted,” the law officer said.

Earlier, the top court had sought a report from the Registrar General of the Calcutta High Court on whether Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay gave an interview to a news channel about the school jobs “scam” case in West Bengal.

“Pursuant to the order of this court dated April 24, the Calcutta High Court registry has placed the affidavit dated April 27 filed by the Calcutta HC Registrar General….Having considered the note prepared by Justice A Gangopadhyay in respect of … and also perused the transcript of the interview. The transcript has been authenticated on April 26, 2023 by the interpreting officer on the original side of the high court,” the bench said on Friday.

Earlier it had said judges have no business granting interviews on pending matters. On April 17, the top court had stayed the Calcutta High Court’s April 13 order directing the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh, an accused in the case, and file a report in HC based on that.

Prior to this, the single judge bench of the Calcutta High Court of Justice Gangopadhyay had also directed the West Bengal police not to lodge any FIR against CBI and Enforcement Directorate officers probing the alleged scam.

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