Asked to reply why she should not be made party to a petition

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, asking her why she should not be made a party to a writ petition pending in the Calcutta High Court against the appointment of Sukumar Mukherjee as ‘Chief Adviser’ in the Health Department.

On August 16, refusing to stay the appointment, the High Court directed the petitioner, Kunal Saha, to drop Ms. Banerjee’s name from the list of respondents. The present appeal is directed against this order.

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Anil R. Dave issued notice to Ms. Banerjee on the limited question of why she should not remain a party.

It directed that the matter to be listed after six weeks and issued notice to the other respondents: the Health Secretary; Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee; and the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The Bench made it clear that the issue of notice should not be interpreted that the allegation made against Ms. Banerjee “has any credibility or otherwise.”

Senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani argued that Dr. Mukherjee had been indicted by the Supreme Court in 2009 for negligence. The MCI also found him negligent and directed that his registration be suspended in May 2011.

The High Court, he said, was wrong in ordering the deletion of the name of Ms. Banerjee despite the specific allegation of mala fide against her. “Everyone, even a Chief Minister, must be treated equally in the eyes of the law.” The appointment of Dr. Mukherjee as Chief Adviser would undermine the credibility of the Supreme Court.

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