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Judge versus Judge in Calcutta High Court: Supreme Court transfers matter to itself

A five-judge Constitution Bench asks the West Bengal Government to submit a status report on the probe into the alleged issuance of fake caste certificates and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks

Judge versus Judge in Calcutta High Court: Supreme Court transfers matter to itself

The Constitution Bench had taken suo motu cognisance of the unprecedented development in the Calcutta High Court. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, January 29

The Supreme Court on Monday transferred to itself the proceedings pending before two Benches of the Calcutta High Court which passed orders against each other last week in connection with an order for a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in MBBS admissions in state-run medical colleges in West Bengal.

“We will transfer the proceedings in the writ petition and the letter patent appeal (LPA) to the Supreme Court. We will list it after a while and deal with it,” a five-judge Constitution Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud said.

The Bench -- which also included Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Anirudha Bose -- asked the West Bengal Government to submit a status report on the probe into the alleged issuance of fake caste certificates and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

As two judges of the Calcutta High Court washed their dirty linen in public, the Constitution Bench had on Saturday stayed all proceedings before a single-Judge Bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay and a Division Bench led by Justice Soumen Sen after they passed orders against each other.

The Constitution Bench – which had to assemble on a holiday for an urgent hearing after taking suo motu cognizance of the unprecedented development in the Calcutta High Court -- had on Saturday stayed the implementation of directions issued by Justice Gangopadhyay on Wednesday for a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in issuance of caste certificates to candidates aspiring for reserved category seats and Thursday’s Division Bench order that had stayed it.

“We have taken charge now,” the Bench -- which also included Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Anirudha Bose -- had said on Saturday.

On Monday, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said on behalf of the West Bengal Government that Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay was still taking up such matters and “he will continue doing the same thing”.

“There cannot be any doubt that incidents and the allegations in the present case and others have affected the administration of justice and brought the entire institution and its functioning under question,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said disapproving of the conduct of the Division Bench.

The CJI advised senior lawyers to refrain from casting aspersions on either of the two Benches of the Calcutta High Court that were at loggerheads.

“Casting aspersions on the Single Judge or the Division Bench would not be proper. Anything we say can have an effect on impinging the dignity of the Calcutta High Court. We will handle it in some way,” the CJI said, adding the Supreme Court cannot arrogate to itself the high court chief justice’s power of allocating cases.

Acting on a petition filed by MBBS aspirant Itisha Soren alleging irregularities in the admission process for candidates belonging to the reserved categories, Justice Gangopadhyay had on Wednesday ordered a CBI into the matter, saying he had no faith in the state police. However, a Justice Sen-led Bench stayed it the very next day after the West Bengal Government approached it.

In April, 2023 Justice Gangopadhyay had asked the Supreme Court Secretary General to give him a transcript of his interview with regard to teachers’ recruitment scam that was placed before a CJI-led Bench in a case related to TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee -- Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.

The top court had stayed his order and asked the then Calcutta High Court acting chief justice to reassign the case to another judge.

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#Central Bureau of Investigation CBI #MBBS #Supreme Court #West Bengal


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