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Judge-lawyer spat over Bongaon

Judge observed that the happenings at Bongaon on Tuesday were very unfortunate, was critical of police role.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

A day after the violence outside the Bongaon Municipality premises in North 24-Parganas over a no-trust vote, Justice Samapti Chatterjee of Calcutta High Court observed the happenings there were “very unfortunate” and was critical of the role played by the police.

“The happenings at Bongaon Municipality yesterday were very unfortunate during which the police did not act. By voting, people elect someone who later changes his party. Will these people build the nation?” the court said.

The judge was, in fact, hearing a petition challenging the notice of a no-confidence motion of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation. The court’s observation triggered a verbal exchange between the judge and Trinamul Congress MP and lawyer Kalyan Bandyopadhyay.

The Trinamul lawyer said: “A political party has spent Rs 20 lakhs in the Bar Association election. I know how judges are appointed. Do I need to speak about it?”

He then went on to level serious charges against the judiciary, hinting some judges had taken favours from the government. “Many judges have got plots in Salt Lake. Shall I name them?” he asked.

Justice Chatterjee shot back, saying: “We are attached with this court for generations. I am not scared of anyone. We also know many things. There are counsel who have not been practising for even 10 years, but are holding important posts. I know how their property is increasing.”

The judge further said: “Some people like to give and some others like to take. This is how cut-money is generated.”

Thereafter the judge referred to Mr Bandyopadhyay’s comments on the Bar Association election and said: “If Mr Bandopadhaya said so, it is correct. He is a very outspoken and knowledgeable person.”

Yesterday, BJP and Trinamul supporters had clashed outside the municipality premises over the no-trust vote. Two persons, including the SDPO Asesh Ghosh Dastidar, were injured. Bombs were hurled and the situation took an ugly turn, forcing the police to detonate stun grenades and resort to lathicharge to disperse the rampaging mob.

The Trinamul and the BJP made conflicting claims about the no-trust vote. The chairman Shankar Adya said the Trinamul had won the trust vote as nine of the party councillors were present at the meeting, while none of the BJP councillors turned up. The municipality has 22 councillors, including one independent and another fielded jointly by the CPI-M and the Congress.

The BJP, however, claimed that three of its councillors who had sought the no-trust vote were authorised by the High Court to organise the vote. Initially, nine of the BJP councillors had allegedly been kept confined in a room by the administration, while two others, who had got anticipatory bail from the court during the day to attend the meeting, were not allowed to take part in the voting. Later, the BJP claimed 11 of its councillors did manage to hold the no-trust vote in the room of the executive officer, Gourango Biswas, and defeated the chairman with their minority votes.

Several hundred BJP supporters along with the 11 party councilors today took out a procession from Bongaon Bata More to Motiganj to protest against police “atrocity” yesterday.

The 10 Trinamul councillors under the leadership of Bongaon Municipality chairman Shankar Adya arrived at the municipality office to join work.

“We shall obey High Court order if anybody moves the HC again and we get any further order from HC. We had nothing to do with yesterday’s incident,” Mr Adya said.