Manner in which pressure was sought to put will not inspire confidence in rule of law: Calcutta HC

The Kolkata High Court while staying the bail granted to four TMC leaders by the special CBI Court has remarked that “the manner in which pressure was sought to be put will not inspire confidence of the people in the rule of law”.

The High Court took stock of CBI’s contention that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with her party supporters remained stationed in CBI office for six hours on Monday.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Arijit Banerjee took stock of CBI’s contention to seek transfer of the trial from special CBI Court Kolkata to another Court.

The order passed by the High Court reads “this Court has been called upon an extra-ordinary situation where Chief Minister of the State can sit on a dharna outside the office of the Central Bureau of Investigation (for short, ‘CBI’) along with her supporters, which had investigated the case and was to present a charge-sheet in court against the accused who are senior party leaders of the party in power in the State, some of them being Ministers. Not only this, the Law Minister of the State was present in Court where the accused were to be presented along with a mob of 2000 to 3000 supporters”.

When questioned by the Court, the Advocate General did not deny the fact that the Chief Minister- Mamta Banerjee was there in the CBI office from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Appearing on behalf of CBI Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the letter sent by the CBI to the High Court mentions the presence of Chief Minister in the CBI Office. “That itself is a sufficient ground for transfer of the case. The matter may be taken up immediately as otherwise the people will get a message that with mobocracy, any order can be secured by putting pressure. In any case he undertakes to file a formal petition as well placing on the record the entire material”, reads the order.

Mehta further argued that the Law Minister remained in the Court complex throughout the day till the arguments were heard.

“In these facts and circumstances if any order is passed by the Court the same will not have faith and confidence of the people in the system of administration of justice. Confidence of the people in the justice system will be eroded in case such types of incidents are allowed to happen in the matters where political leaders are arrested and are to be produced in the Court” reads the Court order.

It adds “Public trust and confidence in the judicial system is more important, it being the last resort. They may have a feeling that it is not rule of law which prevails but it is a mob which has an upper hand and especially in a case where it is led by the Chief Minister of the State in the office of CBI and by the Law Minister of the State in the Court Complex. If the parties to a litigation believe in Rule of Law such a system is not followed. The idea was different”.

Taking stock of the contentions, the High Court observed “We are not touching the merits of the controversy but the manner in which pressure was sought to be put will not inspire confidence of the people in the rule of law”.

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