Papers and EVMs used for voting in West Bengal’s Nandigram, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lost in the assembly election, should be preserved and kept safely, the Calcutta High Court said today while hearing a petition by Ms Banerjee challenging the election of the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from this constituency.
Ms Banerjee was present before Justice Shampa Sarkar in today’s hearing online. The court said notice should also be served to the Election Commission and the Returning Officer.
The petition by the Trinamool Congress chief was earlier with Justice Kaushik Chanda, who fined her Rs 5 lakh after making angry observations, accusing Ms Banerjee of a “planned move to malign a judge” and of violating her constitutional duty. Justice Chanda then exited the case. Ms Banerjee had asked the judge to quit the case over “conflict of interest”.
The court will hear the petition next on August 12.
Ms Banerjee wanted the case to be reassigned to a different court as she alleged Justice Chanda has links with the BJP and would be biased.
“Such calculative, psychological and offensive attempt to seek recusal need to be firmly repulsed and a cost of Rs 5 lakh is imposed upon petitioner,” Justice Chanda said in the order on July 7.
About his past Association with the BJP, Justice Chanda said judges vote and they have a political point of view but “it is wrong on Mamata Banerjee’s part to think that a judge cannot discharge his duty as one just because he votes for one political party or the other”.
The Nandigram loss for Ms Banerjee was the lone disappointment for the Chief Minister as her Trinamool Congress won a landslide victory in Bengal in the April-May election, retaining power for the second time.