Bengal teacher jobs case | Case taken away from him, Calcutta HC judge: ‘Supreme Court jug jug jiyo’
Hours after the Supreme Court asked the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court to reassign the West Bengal teacher recruitment case pending before him to another judge and then stayed his order seeking a report from the Supreme Court Secretary General, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court said Friday he believes that “gradually all recruitment related cases will be taken away from me” and then added “Supreme Court jug jug jiyo”.
Soon after a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud ordered that the matter be reassigned, Justice Gangopadhya, at the centre of a row over a media interview in which he had made remarks against TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, directed the Supreme Court’s Secretary General to place before him by midnight the report submitted in court and the official translation of his interview.
This unusual direction led to a late evening sitting of the Supreme Court and it stayed Justice Gangopadhyay’s order seeking the report from the Secretary General.
The bench of Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli said the “order ought not to have been passed in a judicial proceeding, more so keeping in view the judicial discipline expected to be maintained”.
In a late evening sitting, SC stays Calcutta HC judge Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay’s order seeking report from SC Sec Gen, Says “order ought not to have been passed in a judicial proceeding, more so keeping in view judicial discipline expected to be maintained”. @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) April 28, 2023
It directed “the Secretary General of this Court to communicate a copy of this order to the Registrar General of High Court of Calcutta forthwith, who shall in turn place the same before the learned Single Judge”.
Earlier in the day, the bench of CJI Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha asked the High Court Acting Chief Justice to reassign the case pending before Justice Gangopadhyay in which the HC had ordered a probe against Abhishek Banerjee in connection with the teacher recruitment case.
Hearing a plea by Banerjee, who said that the judge had made certain remarks against him in an interview to ABP Ananda, the Supreme Court had on April 24 sought a report on it from the Registrar General of the Calcutta High Court.
The bench perused the report Friday and directed that the case be reassigned to another judge.
“We have considered the note prepared by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay… and have also perused the transcript of the interview. The transcript has been authenticated on April 26, 2023, by the interpreting officer… Having considered the transcript, we direct that the Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice of the HC of Calcutta shall reassign the pending proceedings in the case to some other judge of the Calcutta HC,” the bench said.
It said “the judge to whom the proceedings are reassigned… would be at liberty to take up all applications which may be moved in that regard”.
On September 20 last year, five months after he had ordered a CBI probe into the teacher recruitment case, Justice Gangopadhyay had told ABP Ananda that Abhishek Banerjee should be jailed for three months over his remarks that a section of the judiciary was hand-in-glove with the BJP.
When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and others pointed to a “pattern” of judges being “targeted” in West Bengal if they “go against a particular dispensation or person”, the CJI said “no effort should be made anywhere in the country to browbeat judges” and if he comes across any such instance, the court will take it up on the administrative side.
Around midnight in Kolkata, Justice Gangopadhyay told reporters, “I will raise my voice against any kind of corruption. I did not hear this case (recruitment case) to suit my personal interest. I am least bothered whether I hear this case or someone else does.”
“I would urge protesting job aspirants to have patience as the case has not concluded. The matter has only been reassigned to another judge. I have other cases related to corruption. I believe those will also be taken away from me gradually. I feel those will be taken away on the same ground based on which today’s direction came. However, I am not stepping down as I don’t believe in running away… I will only say this at the end: Supreme Court jug jug jiyo.”