New Delhi: The Calcutta high court on Wednesday issued notice to Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari in the petition filed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee challenging her defeat in the assembly election from Nandigram. Mamata lost to Adhikari from Nandigram.
The next date of hearing is August 12.
Mamata was also present online for the hearing. “The bench also ordered the Election Commission to preserve all records, and devices, such as EVMs, and video recordings,” said her lawyer, Sanjay Basu.
The matter is being heard by justice Shampa Sarkar after justice Kausik Chanda recused himself from hearing the petition and imposed a fine of ₹5 lakh on the Trinamool Congress Chief for the manner in which the recusal was sought.
Banerjee had moved the Calcutta high court alleging voting irregularities in her loss by 1,956 votes to her protégé-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram. It was her first electoral loss in 32 years.
“The bench also noted that the election petition does not suffer from any defect as per Section 86(1) RPA,” said Basu.
The Trinamool Congress demanded a recount shortly after the results were announced in favour of the BJP candidate but the request was turned down by the Election Commission.
Her case was initially slated to be heard by justice Chanda. However, Mamata asked for transferring the petition to another judge citing “apprehension of bias” since justice Chanda had, before his elevation to the bench in 2019, represented the BJP and its leaders in court cases and was seen in photographs sharing a dais with BJP leaders including West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh.
“Such calculative, psychological, and offensive attempts to seek recusal need to be firmly repulsed and a cost of ₹5 lakh is imposed upon the petitioner,” justice Chanda had said in his order on July 7. The money will be used to fight Covid-19, he said.