In the eye of the storm over her remark that some judgments are purchased, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday pointed the finger at the media, saying a section had distorted the entire matter.
Ms. Banerjee welcomed the initiation of legal proceedings in this respect. She said, “I am happy that a case has been started. I am bound to abide by a court order.” The statement made at a seminar in the State Assembly had been recorded. “Take my cassette.”
The Chief Minister said she was a lawyer and she could defend herself. “There are points that I will raise if I ever get that opportunity in my life. I am a lawyer … don’t forget that … I can speak for my countrymen, my people and myself.”
However, Ms. Banerjee revisited some of the issues she raised during the seminar on August 14.
Good judges too
“There are many good judges too ... who have not accepted a paisa in their life … I have not labelled either judges or lawyers as thieves,” she said at the State Secretariat on Thursday, when journalists sought her response to the developments at the Calcutta High Court where some lawyers prayed for criminal contempt proceedings against her.
“I have spoken about value-based judiciary, value-based media, value-based political system and value-based state-funding [of elections]. And I will say it a 1000 times.”
Ms. Banerjee said that at the seminar she raised the problem of pending cases and need for electoral, judicial and administrative reforms, but little of these were covered by a section of the media.
“Is it a crime to highlight the deficiencies that riddle the system, so many years since Independence? If they distort statements, it is they who will face defamation suits. Please remember … take care in the future,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee also accused a section of the media of writing for pecuniary benefits, but added that not all indulged in this practice.