Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Withdraw all judicial work from Justice Gangopadhyay: Calcutta High Court Bar Association, High Court stays order of Justice Gangopadhyay

A Division Bench of Justices Harish Tandon and Hiranmay Bhattacharyya of Calcutta High Court was constituted to assemble beyond the judicial hour at 8,30 PM because of the unprecedented events happened in Court on December 18, 2023. In its 4 page long order, the Court stayed the "operation of the order dated 18th December 2023 (of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay) by which the appellant has been directed to undergo a period of three days civil imprisonment until further order of this Court" by its order dated December 18, 2023. 

Prior to this, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association passed a resolution whereby the members of the Bar Association have decided to unanimously refrain from entering the courtroom of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay unless the latter apologises for holding Advocate Prosenjit Mukherjee. The Association responded in this manner after the judge ordered the arrest of Advocate Mukherjee in the courtroom on charges of contempt of court citing the “extreme insult” meted out to the lawyer.

In a letter to the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association expressed its disapproval of Justice Gangopadhyay’s actions, stating that the lawyer was taken into custody without being given an opportunity to be heard. The association also announced that none of its members would appear in Justice Gangopadhyay’s court unless he apologised. The association has made an unanimous request to the Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam to withdraw all judicial work from Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay.

The Division Bench's order records that the background of the case. The instant Mandamus Appeal has been registered on the basis of a letter written by Prosenjit Mukherjee, a practicing Advocate of this Court, assailing an order passed in CPAN 9 of 2023 by which he was directed to be taken into custody and undergo for three days civil imprisonment. The letter would disclose that the custody of the appellant was taken by the Sheriff/Deputy Sheriff despite repeated unconditional apology having tendered before the learned Single Judge. It is revealed from the said letter that the appellant was representing the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission in the writ petition being WPA 2504 of 2021 wherein an order was passed to give the respondent no. 1 appointment on compassionate ground in an aided Madrasah. The said order was assailed by the said Commission before the Division Bench in MAT 194 of 2023 and by an order dated 23rd November 2023 the said order passed by the Single Bench was modified on the prayer of the beneficiary of the said order that her appointment shall be made in an unaided Madrasah but near to her residence as she is a widow having eight year old child. According to the appellant, when the contempt application was appearing before the Single Bench the order of the Division Bench was handed over, but in spurt of the moment without any reasonable cause or the ground having shown, he was sent and taken into custody for a period of three days.

It has been reported that a similar incident had occurred on November 30, 2023, when Justice Gangopadhyay ordered the Bar Council of West Bengal to take action against a lawyer who requested an adjournment. That he order too was stayed by a Division Bench of the High Court.


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