SC Rejectes to List Transfer Poll Petition of Suvendu Adhikari Filed by Mamata Banerjee

Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: September 3, 2022 at 18:44 IST

The Supreme Court of India refused to hear a petition by Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the BJP’s opposition in West Bengal, asking for the transfer of an election petition that had been filed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (Mamata Banerjee v. Suvendu Adhikari)

Adhikari’s Bench ruled that she could not select the venue for her case.

Adhikari won the assembly election for the Nandigram constituency in 2021 by 1,956 votes over Mamata Banerjee. The election results were controversial because initial media reports indicated that Banerjee had won.

In June 2021, Banerjee then filed an election petition to the Calcutta High Court asking that Adhikari’s election from Nandigram be ruled null and illegal.

Adhikari subsequently went to the Supreme Court to request that the election petition be transferred outside of West Bengal. Furthermore, it was emphasised that Justice Kausik Chanda, who was initially hearing the election petition, subsequently recused from the case on July 7 after Banerjee opposed him hearing it.

Before he was appointed a judge of the Calcutta High Court, Justice Chanda was an ardent member of the BJP. Before being promoted to the bench, he had additionally worked for the BJP government as Additional Solicitor General.

Banerjee had written to Rajesh Bindal, who was the Acting Chief Justice at the time, seeking reassignment of the case, which ultimately led to Justice Chanda’s recusal.

Adhikari used Justice Chanda’s observations in his ruling from July 7 regarding the attack on the judiciary in the state as grounds for his request for the Supreme Court to transfer the petition from the Calcutta High Court.

The Court, however, said that this could not be used as a basis for the transfer request and that the Calcutta High Court would have to hear the issue. It emphasised that the Allahabad High Court heard appeals against the election of prior prime ministers as well and stated that Adhikari and any witnesses in the case could be given security.

Salve thereafter sought permission from the court to withdraw the petition and present a plea before the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court outlining his grievances.

The Court gave him permission to do so and instructed him to file a petition before the Chief Justice of the High Court if any instructions were required for holding the trial in a timely manner.

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