SC refuses to hear Soumendu Adhikari's plea against his removal from Contai municipality

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New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain the plea of BJP leader Soumendu Adhikari, brother of former West Bengal Minister Suvendu Adhikari, against the Calcutta High Court order adjourning his petition challenging his removal from the post of administrator of Contai Municipality in Purba Medinipur district.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose allowed Adhikari to withdraw his plea and granted liberty to approach the high court for expeditious hearing of the matter.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Adhikari, said that the high court had erroneously adjourned the matter without appreciating the fact that West Bengal government has been trying to adopt dilatory tactics by issuing subsequent notification.

The bench said the argument can be raised before the high court.

Rohatgi then sought permission to withdraw the Special Leave Petition with liberty to approach the high court for early disposal of the writ petition pending adjudication before it.

The bench said that “in view of the request made, the Special Leave Petition is dismissed as withdrawn with the aforesaid liberty”.

The high court had on February 15 fixed the matter for hearing in March.

Soumendu Adhikari joined the BJP on January 1 this year after his elder brother Suvendu Adhikari quit the ruling Trinamool Congress party in the state.

In his plea filed through advocate Sameer Kumar, he claimed that he has been illegally removed by the West Bengal government's Municipal Affairs Department from the post of administrator of the civic body.

Soumendu was the chairman of Contai Municipality till the term of the board expired in 2019. He was then appointed as its administrator since elections were postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soumendu sought urgent directions from the court towards expeditious disposal of proceedings before the high court wherein he has prayed for quashing of notifications issued by the West Bengal government appointing Siddharth Maity on the post, which he was holding previously.

“The respondent number 6 (Maity) assumed the office of Board of Administrator, Contai Municipality before an official notification was published by Respondent number 1 and 2 (WB government) in official gazette which is not permissible as per law,” his plea said.

He said Maity is neither a holder of any public office nor does he have any special knowledge about municipal affairs and the only reason for choosing him as the chairman is the fact that he is the town president of TMC, Contai and the husband of one of the councillors of the last expired board of councillors of municipality.

Soumendu said that from 2010-2020, he has served as the chairman of the Contai municipality for two consecutive terms and on May 19, 2020 the state government has issued a notification appointing him as the chairperson of board of administration.

He said he had approached the Calcutta High Court aggrieved by the notification of December 30, 2020 by which the earlier notification of May 19, 2020 was amended and the names of Maity and others were inserted, while his was deleted. PTI MNL SJK SA