She says several judgments are being purchased

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday came down heavily on the judiciary, saying a number of judgments were being purchased.

“Why will judgments be given only in favour of those who offer money? I am sorry to say this; people can condemn me for this. I can be arrested and put in jail for this, but somewhere I will have to express my opinion,” Ms. Banerjee said. She was speaking at a seminar, ‘Executive Accountability to the Parliament/Legislature,’ on the occasion of the Assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

It was very unfortunate that corruption had become the “main pillar” everywhere, including the judiciary whose responsibility was to deliver justice to people, she said. “I have seen it myself that a number of judgments are being purchased.”

Questioning the rationale for setting up of various commissions by the State government, Ms. Banerjee said they served no purpose. “So much money is spent on these commissions, but the only thing they do is summon officials… Out of 24 hours a day, officials have to spend 12 hours answering these commissions.”

Her remarks are significant, coming as they do in the wake of the recommendations made on Monday by the West Bengal Human Rights Commission for departmental proceedings against two police officers and compensation to Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta for their arrest in April after they circulated an e-mail containing graphics of Ms. Banerjee and other Trinamool Congress leaders.

Ms. Banerjee said not only the executive but all should be made accountable.

There was a trend to criticise politicians and ruin their image, she said.

A section of civil society, Ms. Banerjee said, was giving sermons to politicians without thinking about what its accountability should be. “There are a few people who do not want to get into politics, do not want to take on the responsibilities of MPs and MLAs, but want to control everything in the country. They will decide whether the price of petrol will be increased and how foreign investment will enter various sectors. But they will never come and join politics,” she said.

She also alleged that a section of the media was distorting facts and misleading the people by criticising politicians.