Kolkata: Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of Calcutta High Court, on Thursday, recused himself from two cases related to the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari versus West Bengal government.
The state government had approached the Supreme Court claiming that there was delay in hearings at the Calcutta High Court on these two cases. However, the apex court instead of passing any direction returned the cases to the bench of Justice Mantha.
Justice Mantha observed that from the petition of the state government it seemed that the hearing in the matter was delayed just due to the petitioner, which in this case is Adhikari.
“But this bench has observed that neither of the two parties are keen for a speedy hearing in the matter. This bench does not have the time for prolonged hearing. There are 53 other judges with the Calcutta High Court. So, I recommend this case be transferred to any other bench,” Justice Mantha observed.
This is not the first time that any judge of Calcutta High Court has recused from hearing in the matter. Earlier, Justice Partha Sarathi Sen too recused himself from hearing in the same matter, following which the cases were transferred to Justice Mantha’s bench.
Following a series of cases and FIR filed against him, the LoP approached the Calcutta High Court alleging harassment by the state administration. Justice Mantha’s bench gave Adhikari the protection against coercive action, including arrest in the existing cases, and also barred the state government from filing fresh FIR against him without the permission of the court.
Trinamool Congress state general secretary and the party’s spokesman Kunal Ghosh, at that point of time, launched a scathing attack against Justice Mantha for his order.
However, now before the final hearing and judgement, Justice Mantha has chosen to recuse himself from the case.