New Delhi: The Supreme Court, in a late evening hearing on Friday, stayed the order passed by Calcutta High Court’s Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, directing the apex court’s Secretary General to produce the report and official transcript of an interview he had given to a news channel.
A bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli observed that the order of present nature ought not to have been passed in judicial proceedings, keeping in view the judicial discipline and stayed the order passed by the high court judge in the suo motu proceeding.
The bench said the order was improper and against judicial discipline and directed the Secretary General to convey its order to Justice Gangopadhyay.
Earlier during the day, the top court asked the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to assign the recruitment scam in government schools in West Bengal to some other judge, instead of Justice Gangopadhyay, who heard the matter so far, after considering his interview to a news channel. The top court passed the order on a plea by Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee against the High Court’s order allowing his questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Within hours of the top court’s order, Justice Gangopadhyay himself registered a case as “In Re: The Court on its own motion” and directed the apex court’s Secretary General to produce before him transcripts of the translation of his interview to a TV channel furnished before the top court.
Following this, a bench of Justices Bopanna and Kohli considered the matter in a special sitting after 8 p.m.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it is unfortunate that this order was passed and asked the apex court to stay the order.
On April 24, the top court said that judges have no business granting interviews to news channels on matters pending before them.
The court took strong exception to sitting Calcutta High Court judge Justice Gangopadhyay’s interview to a news channel in connection with Abhishek Banerjee, even as a case concerning Banerjee was being heard by him.
The bench said: “Judges have no business granting interviews to television or whatever channels on matters which are pending before them… how can they, given an interviewa.”
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