Previously, the word “conspiracy” was thrown against the Union government or the BJP in case any matter in West Bengal is investigated by a central agency. Although that is still going on, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has recently found a new target on this issue.
Having faced adverse rulings in the Calcutta High Court in all cases related to recruitment in the education sector, which ultimately led to investigations by the central agency, Mamata Banerjee recently blamed the petitioners in these matters. She asked the petitioners to withdraw their petitions to allow the state government to restart the teacher hiring process to make room for them.
At the same time, he advised the petitioners to harass their lawyers, who won their legal battle in the Calcutta High Court, to get them jobs.
IANS spoke to several legal brains. They all said that the legal fraternity in West Bengal has called this action by the prime minister an utter disregard for the judicial system and an expression of fear of it.
Calcutta High Court Chief Lawyer and former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who was the petitioners’ lead lawyer in the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam, became the main target of the prime minister in this position. “Bikash Bhattacharya has a lot of money. Go and ask him to organize his jobs as he has been responsible for the court orders that have stopped the hiring of 17,000 teachers,” Mamata Banerjee recently told petitioners at a public rally.
Speaking to IANS, Bhattacharya said that this advice from Mamata Banerjee is an expression of her contempt for the judicial system and also an indirect admission that previous recruitments were done without respecting all the rules. “By asking the petitioners to drop the cases as prime minister, he is justifying irregular recruitments. If there had been no irregularities, there would not have been so many petitions. And what are the petitioners going to get by harassing me? I just appeared as a lawyer.” on behalf of the petitioners. I did not file the petitions,” he said.
Speaking to IANS, Calcutta High Court Bar Association President and Chief Advocate Arunava Ghosh questioned whether the PM can give a written statement that jobs will be guaranteed for all disadvantaged if petitions are withdrawn. “I think Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya would have put this particular question to the prime minister and launched an open challenge. Mamata Banerjee made a political statement without understanding the legal implications of asking the petitioners to withdraw their petitions and that too from the president of the prime minister. Remember, she made this appeal to petitioners at an administrative review meeting that she was chairing as prime minister,” Ghosh said.
Another prominent Calcutta High Court lawyer, Kaushik Gupta, pointed out that when someone feels deprived or is the victim of injustice, they have a fundamental and constitutional right to knock on the doors of the judiciary. “Now, by asking the petitioners to withdraw the petitions just because the court’s verdict had gone against the state government, the chief minister, who has a law degree, has ignored that fundamental right to go to the judiciary to seek of justice. If the chief minister feels that no particular court order has been warranted, that prevents her or her government from approaching a higher court or a higher court. But she probably also knows very well that approaching a higher court or higher courts won’t make any difference,” Gupta said.
The Calcutta High Court lawyer, Jyoti Prakash Khan, was especially opposed to the prime minister asking petitioners to harass their lawyers to get them jobs. “This is nothing more than indirect instigation. If the lawyer in question approaches the court alleging insecurity as the instigation comes from none other than the prime minister, then things can really take a serious turn. In my opinion, such expressions on the part of of the boss are afraid, understanding that the judiciary is taking an extremely tough stance on teacher hiring irregularities and the corruption involved,” Khan said.
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