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HC asks media to file affidavits on Mamata's comment

August 16, 2012 17:55 IST
Taking up a plea for contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly making derogatory remarks about judiciary, the Calcutta high court on Thursday directed two newspapers and two channels to file affidavits on the authenticity of their reports on her speech.

On the plea by senior counsel Bikash Bhattacharya, who was the mayor of Kolkata and a Communist Party of India-Marxist leader, a division bench comprising justices K J Sengupta and A K Mondal directed two national English dailies and two vernacular news channels to file affidavits within three weeks on the authenticity of their reports on a speech made by Banerjee on August 14.

The issue of whether any contempt proceeding would be initiated against the chief minister would come up after examination of the affidavits by the court, lawyers said.

The matter would come up for hearing again after four weeks.

Bhattacharya made the oral plea before the bench praying for suo motu contempt proceedings against Banerjee, stating that the chief minister had during a seminar in the Assembly on Tuesday allegedly made derogatory remarks about judiciary. He also submitted two CDs containing the recordings of television reports and also copies of the two newspapers before the court and sought suo motu action against Banerjee.

On Thursday morning, a section of lawyers led by counsel Subrata Mukhopadhyay had moved the court of Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi seeking suo motu contempt proceedings against the chief minister.

The bench refused to take up the matter suo motu and said that he could file a contempt petition before the court and the matter would be heard accordingly.

The chief justice's bench had observed that the chief minister had expressed her personal opinion and the judiciary was not disturbed at any such alleged comments.

Bhattacharya had moved the court earlier on Thursday seeking an urgent hearing on the matter, when the bench directed him to come at 2.00 pm.

Banerjee had stated, "What I am seeing, many court judgments are today delivered in return for money." 

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