CJI raps Calcutta HC judge, says he has no business giving media interview on pending case
The CJI made the remarks while considering a plea filed by TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee against the Calcutta HC order directing the CBI and ED to question him over the teacher recruitment scam
NEW DELHI: Judges have no business giving interviews to the media on pending cases, CJI DY Chandrachud remarked on Monday as he sought clarification from a sitting judge of the Calcutta HC Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay through the Registrar General over his interview to a news channel about a case being heard by him.
“Judges have no business granting interviews to news channels on pending matters. If this is true, he cannot hear this case anymore. If he has done so then he cannot participate anymore. We will not touch the investigation but if a judge gives an opinion on the petitioner on a TV debate, then he cannot hear it. The HC chief then has to constitute a new bench,” the CJI said.
The CJI said that although the court was not going into the merits of the case where the Calcutta HC directed the CBI to probe the role of TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in the alleged recruitment scam as of now, it was imperative to know if the interview was given by the judge or not.
The remarks were made by the CJI while considering a plea filed by TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee against the Calcutta HC order directing the CBI and ED to question him over the primary teacher recruitment scam.
Not only Banerjee but even the West Bengal government approached the Supreme Court against the Calcutta HC's order directing the CBI to probe into alleged irregularities in recruitment on the ED's plea. The HC on April 22 after taking note of the ED's findings during its probe in the scam had directed the CBI to investigate.
Appearing on behalf of Banerjee, senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi requested the court to take note of the interview given by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay to ABP Ananda wherein the judge allegedly spoke against Banerjee. “This is a little unprecedented. This is with greatest humility and respect and just not done. This was said in presence of our lawyers. The single judge has not clarified or revoked the statement.”
Last Monday, the SC had stayed the Calcutta HC's order directing the CBI and ED to question TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee over the scam. Singhvi had submitted before the bench that although the writ filed before the HC had nothing to do with Banerjee, the judge had still directed the CBI and EC for questioning him. During the hearing, he had also referred to an interview which was given by Justice Gangopadhyay (the judge who had passed the order) in which some statements were allegedly made by him against Banerjee. He said that this was a ground for apprehension of bias.