HC asks media houses to file affidavits on Mamata's comment

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Mamata-Banerjee
Kolkata, Aug 16: Taking up a plea for contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the judiciary, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed two newspapers and two channels to file affidavits on the authenticity of their reports on her speech.

On the plea by senior counsel Bikash Bhattacharya, the ex-mayor of Kolkata and a CPI(M) leader, a division bench comprising justices KJ Sengupta and AK Mondal directed two national English dailies and two vernacular news channels to file affidavits within three weeks on the authenticity of their reports on a speech made by Banerjee on Aug 14.

The issue of whether any contempt proceeding would be initiated against the chief minister would come up after examination of the affidavits by the court, lawyers said. The matter would come up for hearing again after four weeks. Bhattacharya made the oral plea before the bench praying for suo motu contempt proceedings against Banerjee, stating that the chief minister had during a seminar in the Assembly on Tuesday allegedly made derogatory remarks about judiciary. He also submitted two CDs containing the recordings of television reports and also copies of the two newspapers before the court and sought suo motu action against Banerjee.

In the morning, a section of lawyers led by counsel Subrata Mukhopadhyay had moved the court of Chief Justice JN Patel and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi seeking suo motu contempt proceedings against the chief minister. The bench refused to take up the matter suo motu and said that he could file a contempt petition before the court and the matter would be heard accordingly. The Chief Justice's bench had observed that the chief minister had expressed her personal opinion and the judiciary was not disturbed at any such alleged comments.

Meanwhile, Banerjee said during a press conference in Kolkata that her statement was misunderstood and she was mainly speaking on the issue of electoral reforms and quick dispensation of justice.

Bengal Congress to play Singur card against Mamata

The West Bengal Congress has decided to play the Singur card to create pressure on the Mamata Banerjee government. The PCC leadership said it would organise a rally in Singur on Aug 26 to put pressure on the Trinamool-led government to utilise the controversial land there for industrialisation. The land was leased out to the Tata Motors by the previous Left Front government for setting up a Nano car factory but the project was eventually abandoned.

Senior state Congress leader Abdul Mannan, who is playing a crucial role for the rally, said such a huge tract of land could not be left unutilised for a long period.

PTI

(With added inputs)

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