Calcutta HC to hear Mamata Banerjee’s petition against Nandigram loss today – Hindustan Times

Kolkata News

A single-judge bench of the Calcutta high court is scheduled to hear West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s petition challenging her defeat in the assembly election from Nandigram in Purba Medinipur.

The matter is being heard by justice Shampa Sarkar after justice Kausik Chanda recused himself from hearing the petition and imposed a fine of 5lakh on the Trinamool Congress chief for the manner in which his recusal was sought.

The matter would be heard through video conferencing at 3pm today.

Even though the TMC had returned to power in the state for the third consecutive time with a sweeping victory, Banerjee lost to her protégé-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari by less than 2,000 votes.

On July 14, the court issued a notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Adhikari. Banerjee was also present online for the hearing. “The bench also ordered the poll panel to preserve all records, and devices, such as EVMs, and video recordings,” said a senior advocate.

The TMC chief moved the high court alleging voting irregularities in her loss by 1,956 votes to Adhikari in what was her first electoral loss in 32 years. The TMC demanded a recount shortly after the results were announced in favour of the BJP candidate, but the request was turned down by the Election Commission.

The case was initially slated to be heard by justice Chanda. However, Banerjee asked for transferring the petition to another judge citing “apprehension of bias” since justice Chanda had, before his elevation to the bench in 2019, represented the BJP and its leaders in court cases.

“Such calculative, psychological, and offensive attempts to seek recusal need to be firmly repulsed and a cost of 5lakh is imposed upon the petitioner,” justice Chanda said in his order on July 7. The money will be used to fight Covid-19, he said.