Calcutta High Court judge issues contempt proceedings against lawyers

A section of protesting lawyers had not allowed him entry to the court on Monday

January 10, 2023 08:06 pm | Updated 08:06 pm IST - Kolkata

Earlier on January 9, 2023, posters against Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of Calcutta High Court had come up in the premises of Calcutta HC & near his residence in Kolkata.  

Earlier on January 9, 2023, posters against Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of Calcutta High Court had come up in the premises of Calcutta HC & near his residence in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: Debasish Bhaduri

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of Calcutta High Court on Tuesday issued suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against a group of lawyers who held protests and blocked his entry to court on Monday.

There was chaos and scuffle outside the courtroom of Justice Mantha on Monday with lawyers not allowing him to enter the court thereby forcing adjournments. Posters against Mr. Mantha had come up on the premises of the High Court and his residence in south Kolkata.

The posters were hurriedly removed by the Kolkata Police on Tuesday and a complaint was filed by Kolkata police though no arrests were made. Meanwhile, Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Prakash Shrivastava expressed his displeasure over the developments on Monday. 

Mantha’s stay order on FIRs against Adhikari

Justice Mantha had in December, 2022 passed an order directing a stay on 26 FIRs filed against Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari. He had also withdrawn protection to Maneka Gambhir, sister-in-law of Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

While the Trinamool Congress leadership said they had nothing to do with the protests and the posters, the Opposition parties blamed the ruling dispensation for the ruckus at the High Court.

“Since the Trinamool is unable to fight legally before the courts they are indulging in plain hooliganism. This is a well-planned conspiracy of the Trinamool,” senior advocate and CPI(M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said.

State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said if the judges of the Calcutta High Court are under so much pressure, one can imagine what is the situation at the district judiciary.

‘Attempts to terrorize judiciary’

Reacting to the developments, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court said the developments at the High Court are an attempt to terrorise judiciary. “Judiciary cannot be terrorised like this,” Justice Gangopadhyay said, adding that “a section of people” was behind the development.

Justice Gangopadhyay, a sitting judge at the High Court, had directed investigation by Central investigating agencies in several cases relating to the recruitment scams in schools across the State.

The developments also revealed differences of opinion in the Calcutta High Court Bar Association regarding the purported attempts to boycott the court of Justice Mantha.

On Monday, the assistant secretary of the Bar Association had written to the Chief Justice stating that the members of Bar Association shall abstain from judicial proceedings before the court of Justice Mantha for maintaining peace and tranquility amongst the members of the Bar.

Reacting to this, on Tuesday, executive committee members and vice-president of the Bar Association wrote a letter to the Chief Justice condemning the association’s resolution on Monday.

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