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Soumendu Adhikari moves SC against Mamata Govt decision to remove him from Municipal board

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Kashish Jain

Soumendu Adhikari has moved the Supreme Court alleging that the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal removed him from Chairmanship of the local municipality board for reasons that were ‘petty and political’. Soumendu Adhikari is a newly joined member of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Bengal. 

He has alleged in his plea that the decision to remove him from the position came as a repercussion of his elder brother; Suvendu Adhikari decided to join the BJP. Suvendu Adhikari was formerly a cabinet minister in the Mamata Banerjee Government. 

The current plea is an appeal against an earlier order of the Calcutta High Court that had adjourned the matter. The current plea seeks directions be issued to the Calcutta High Court for the expeditious dismissal of his case as the High Court has 

“erroneously adjourned the matter without appreciating the fact that the State was trying to adopt dilatory tactics.” 

Soumendu Adhikari had served as the Chairman of the Contai Municipality for two tenures which were to expire last year but due to the pandemic, it became ill-advised to conduct general elections for the municipality. The result of this was Souendhu Adhikari being appointed as the Chairperson of the Board of Administration. His appointment was made by way of notification. 

It has been submitted before the Court that when his elder brother resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet to join the BJP, the notification was released amending the earlier notification and newly appointing Siddhartha Maity as the Chairperson of the Board of Administrators. 

The High Court which was to decide on the matter of Adhikari adjourned the matter. In the Interim, the petitioner moved an application stating that the Contai Municipality had been 

“kept under the governance of a board of administrators loyal to the State Government since May 19, 2020 (more than ten months) without elections and that this amounts to colorable exercise of power and is an impediment to democratic elections.”

The State Election Commission has been ready to conduct the elections. It has been claimed that despite the election commission being ready to conduct the elections, the State Government has purposely delayed the same. The plea submitted before the Supreme Court states that the only reason the second notification was issued is that the plaintiff’s brother had resigned and joined BJP. The plea states:

“Action by the state government is not for the betterment of municipal administration but for the petty political reasons of showing no confidence in Adhikari, particularly because of recent political fabric and orientation,” 

Advocate Sameer Kumar had filled the petition. This petition states that the newly appointed chairman is not a holder of a public office and that he has no special knowledge about municipal affairs to support his nomination. 

Adhikari has also submitted that 

“The only reason for choosing him as the chairman is the fact that he is the President of TMC, Contai, and the husband of one of the councilors of the last expired board,”