The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea that suo motu contempt proceedings be initiated against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her remarks on corruption in the judiciary.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi, however, noted that the Chief Minister’s remarks were “neither moderate nor couched in temperate language.”

Speaking at a seminar in the Assembly on August 14, Ms. Banerjee said: “Why will judgments be given only in favour of people 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 point of view.”

Two days later, the former Mayor of Kolkata and senior legal counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya approached the court.

“Not an approval”

Now the court held that it “wasn’t persuaded by the submissions of Mr. Bhattacharya” that Ms. Banerjee’s remarks “in the context of the speech” transcended the “Lakshman Rekha” and scandalised the court.

“We make it clear that our reluctance to initiate such proceedings shouldn’t be taken as an approval of the statements made by the speaker,” it ruled.

“It is expected that when criticism is made from such a top politician, it should be flavoured with moderation and temperance.”