Cal HC CJ removal demand row: 4 WB Bar Council members write to CJI against chairman

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(Eds: Incorporates fresh development about WB Bar Council members writing to CJI against chairman) Kolkata, Jun 28 (PTI) Four West Bengal Bar Council members Monday wrote to the Chief Justice of India claiming its chairman and TMC MLA Ashok Deb acted on his own in seeking the removal of Calcutta High Court Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal.

Registering their dissent, the four elected members of the Bar Council jointly wrote to the CJI that the letter by Deb is 'highly derisive and by no figment of imagination represents the sentiments of the majority of the bar'.

The letter came a day after Deb, a six-term MLA, demanded Bindal's removal on the alleged ground that he was 'biased' in his approach.

'The contents of the letter was neither discussed as an agenda in any meeting of the council, nor we the below members were aware about it until through some social media posts,' the letter signed by Kailash Tamoli, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, Samir Paul and Mihir Das said.

'The chairman has acted on his own, without consulting the elected members of the Bar Council of West Bengal,' they claimed.

The four alleged the June 25 letter was written by Deb to 'please' the ruling party of which he is an MLA.

Deb's letter to the CJI, meanwhile, came in for criticism by also the BJP, which sought to know if the move was an attempt to 'browbeat the judiciary'.

The saffron party claimed that Deb made the demand as the high court is holding the Mamata Banerjee administration to account for alleged post-poll violence.

Deb, in his letter to CJI N V Ramana, said, 'We beseech your Lordship to take immediate steps for removal of Hon'ble Justice Rajesh Bindal as a Judge of Calcutta High Court.' Referring to some recent matters being heard by the high court, including the assignment of Mamata Banerjee's election petition against BJP's Nandigram candidate Suvendu Adhikari to Justice Kaushik Chanda and the Narada sting tapes case, Deb alleged that the acting chief justice, who is the master of roster, is 'biased'.

BJP national IT department chief Amit Malviya claimed in a tweet that the reasons for seeking Bindal's removal are purely political.

'Just because Calcutta High Court is holding the Mamata Banerjee administration to account for the post poll violence, the CM is using Ashok Kumar Deb, TMC MLA from Budge Budge, under the garb of Bar Council to seek removal of acting Chief Justice. Bid to browbeat judiciary?' Malviya tweeted.

Justice Chanda, who was assigned Banerjee's election petition, had on June 24 reserved his order on her application seeking his recusal from the case on account of his old association with the BJP.

Banerjee has claimed Justice Chanda had been an active member of the BJP till his appointment as the Additional Solicitor General in 2015. PTI AMR SK SK

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