SC takes charge as Calcutta High Court Benches pass varying orders : The Tribune India

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SC takes charge as Calcutta High Court Benches pass varying orders

Stays all proceedings in MBBS admission case

SC takes charge as Calcutta High Court Benches pass varying orders

Photo for representation. File photo



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, January 27

As two judges of the Calcutta High Court wash their dirty linen in public, the Supreme Court on Saturday stayed all proceedings before a Single-Judge Bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay and a Division Bench led by Justice Soumen Sen which passed orders against each other in connection with alleged irregularities in MBBS admissions in state-run medical colleges in West Bengal.

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud — which assembled on a holiday for an urgent hearing after taking suo motu cognisance of the unprecedented development in the Calcutta High Court — also 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 stayed it.

Noting that “We have taken charge now,” the Bench — which also included Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Anirudha Bose — posted the matter for further hearing on Monday.

Sitting as a single judge, Justice Gangopadhyay on Thursday passed an order that the Division Bench’s judgment staying his order for a CBI probe should be ignored. He had accused Justice Sen — who headed the Division Bench — of “acting for a political party in the state”. His actions were “clearly tantamount to misconduct”, Justice Gangopadhyay said.

He had said, “…the orders passed in the matters involving the State, are required to be relooked if the Hon’ble Supreme Court thinks so.”

The top court issued notice to the Calcutta High Court Registrar General, the state of West Bengal and the original petitioner seeking their response. The West Bengal Government was represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal while senior advocate AM Singhvi appeared for Abhijit Banerjee. Attorney General R Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta represented the Centre/CBI.

Sibal submitted that the West Bengal Government intended to file a Special Leave Petition against Justice Gangopadhyay’s order for a CBI probe.

Mehta said the Division Bench lacked jurisdiction as it stayed Justice Gangopadhyay’s order without even an appeal memo having been filed. “I am more concerned about passing an order without an appeal memo or any impugned order in place. This court had under Article 141 prohibited the same. I am not here defending either a Single Judge or a Division Bench order,” Mehta said.

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 on Wednesday ordered a CBI probe 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 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.

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