Calcutta High Court website

By Vineet Bhalla

The Calcutta High Court has gained notoriety for being the proxy ground for political battles between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

In March, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, best known for taking on the Trinamool Congress through his judgments in court and even his statements outside it, resigned as a judge. Two days later, he joined the BJP, going on to contest and win the Lok Sabha elections on the party’s ticket.

Last month, a retiring judge of the High Court, Justice Chitta Ranjan Dash, credited the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the BJP’s ideological parent – for shaping his personality. He said that he was ready to go back to the Sangh.

While the Lok Sabha election was underway, the court delivered two significant verdicts, cancelling about 25,000 appointments in state-run schools and striking down all Other Backward Classes certificates issued in West Bengal after 2010. The BJP used these verdicts to target the Trinamool Congress.

Against this backdrop comes a fresh controversy involving a sitting judge.

On June 6, a lawyer named Sanjoy Das filed a public interest litigation in the Calcutta High Court, pleading that cases related to police action not be allocated to Justice Amrita Sinha since her husband was being investigated by the West Bengal police in a criminal case since December. The court has yet to issue notice in response to the petition.

One of the lawyers representing the petitioner told Scroll that Das is not raising an accusatory finger against Sinha. “We are just pointing out presumptive bias that exists when Sinha decides on police action cases even as her husband faces police action,” said lawyer Somenath Sanyal.

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