Defiant Mamata says ready to face court as Calcutta HC asks media houses to file affidavits on comm
Kolkata, Aug.16 (ANI): The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed two newspapers and two channels to file affidavits on the authenticity of their reports on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's speech in which she is reported to have said that the judiciary could be bought to pass favourable decisions.
On the plea by senior counsel Bikash Bhattacharya, who was the Mayor of Kolkata and a CPI (M) leader, a division bench comprising justices K J Sengupta and A K Mondal directed two national English dailies and two vernacular news channels to file affidavits within three weeks on the authenticity of their reports on a speech made by Banerjee on August 14.
The issue of whether any contempt proceeding would be initiated against the chief minister would come up after examination of the affidavits by the court, lawyers said. The matter would come up for hearing again after four weeks.
Bhattacharya made the oral plea before the bench praying for suo motu contempt proceedings against Banerjee, stating that the chief minister had during a seminar in the Assembly on Tuesday allegedly made derogatory remarks about judiciary.
He also submitted two CDs containing the recordings of television reports and also copies of the two newspapers before the court and sought suo motu action against Banerjee.
In the morning, a section of lawyers led by counsel Subrata Mukhopadhyay had moved the court of Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi seeking suo motu contempt proceedings against the Chief Minister.
The bench refused to take up the matter suo motu and said that he could file a contempt petition before the court and the matter would be heard accordingly.
The Chief Justice's bench had observed that the chief minister had expressed her personal opinion and the judiciary was not disturbed at any such alleged comments.
Bhattacharya had moved the court earlier in the day seeking an urgent hearing on the matter, when the bench directed him to come at 2.00 PM.
Banerjee had stated, "What I am seeing, many court judgements are today delivered in return for money."
Meanwhile, in response to the contempt petition filed against her, a defiant Banerjee said she had done nothing wrong, and was "ready to face the court".
Banerjee said, "I will say this (a) thousand times. I spoke about value-based judiciary. I spoke about value-based media. What is the harm? When (the) court gives the order, I will face the court. I am also a lawyer. I can plead for the people and myself."
Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, who is also a lawyer, said there was no case for contempt.
Ms Banerjee, he said, had made general comments with respect to the judiciary.
"There is no disrespect and there is no contempt," Kalyan Banerjee said in defense of his boss. (ANI)
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