Holding court to ransom

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Dec 18, 2014 15:39 IST

Madan Mitra’s case is not a one off incident. Even in the past, lawyers representing the Trinamool Congress at the Alipore Court behaved indecently inside the courtroom and forced judges to deliver verdicts in favour of their clients.

“During the Left regime, CPI (M) - backed advocates ‘managed’ public prosecutors and police stations to get verdict in their favour. Whatever they did, they did outside the court premises. But in the Trinamool era, a group of lawyers at Alipore Court – led by Baiswanor Chatterjee – did not hesitate to flex muscle and create nuisance inside the courtroom to get verdicts in their favour,” said advocate Arunava Ghosh, who claimed himself to be a ‘victim of this anarchy’.

In September, Chatterjee – who is also an advisor to the legal cell of the Trinamool Congress – had filed a petition at the court seeking action against Ghosh for allegedly making comments against speaker Biman Banerjee in a TV interview.

The magistrate at the Alipore Court had found no merit in the complaint and wanted to dismiss the petition. But Chatterjee and others reportedly threatened the judge and forced him to issue summons to Ghosh.

Later, Ghosh came to know about the report and filed a petition under the Right to Information Act to know the facts. After receiving copies of the magistrate’s complaint and the district judge’s report to the high court registrar-general, Ghosh moved a petition at the high court. In October, chief justice of Alipore Court had placed a report before the high court registrar-general that states that the magistrate had lodged a complaint with him saying Chatterjee and others had forced him to change his decision. Finally on November 19, Justice Sanjiv Banerjee directed Chatterjee to state why he had forced the Alipore Court magistrate to change the decision. “These lawyers do not know the etiquette of the judicial system. They should quit the profession and take admission to the first year of the law degree course afresh,” the Justice Banerjee remarked.

Even on the first day when Mitra was produced in court, an advocate, a close aide of Chatterjee, was inside the premises to plea a bail for a woman whose husband is accused of beating up a police officer in Haridevpur. While pleading his case, the lawyer suddenly compared the CBI with Kolkata Police and said, “Just like the CBI, the Kolkata Police is arresting innocent people.”

A senior officer from Haridevpur police station later told HT that this is the reason why the investigating officer in the case was not present in court on that day. “Had the officer been there, the lawyer would have attacked and humiliated him. This is why most officers do not visit the court if an accused nominates a Trinamool-backed lawyer,” the police officer added.

When HT contacted Chatterjee, he said, “The media is blowing up stories against me and I am planning to file defamation case against some media houses.”

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