In an unprecedented development, a heated exchange took place between them Judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay and lawyers of Supreme Court in Kolkata on Thursday after the judge allowed journalists present in the courtroom to videotape the hearing related to the illegal appointment of teachers in West Bengal government schools.
Judge Gangopadhyay had ordered six allegedly unlawfully appointed teachers to appear in person in court on Thursday, including the daughter of arrested TMC leader Anubrata Mondal, in connection with allegations that she and five others were appointed to primary schools without passing the teacher aptitude test to have (TE). The petitioners had alleged that some people closely related to Mondal had obtained teaching positions, including Sukanya, who allegedly never attended Kalikapur Primary School in Birbhum, where she was employed.
Mondal, the party’s district leader in Birbhum, is currently in CBI custody on a suspected cattle smuggling case after a department bank refused him protection from arrest.
Judge Gangopadhyay had previously ordered CBI investigations into a number of cases of alleged irregularities in the appointment of teachers and non-teaching staff in West Bengal government-sponsored schools in the state.
At the start of Thursday’s hearing, the judge said in open court that, contrary to standard practice, he would allow journalists to film the trial on their cellphones. It should be noted that the recording of court proceedings is prohibited under the Supreme Court Rules on Videoconferencing, which provide that any unauthorized use of live streaming is punishable under the Indian Copyright Act 1957, Information Technology Act 2000 and other provisions of the Act , including the law of contempt.
However, several attorneys present in the courtroom protested, including a senior attorney and former Congressional MLA Arunava Ghosh who urged the judge not to turn the courtroom “into a bazaar.” The senior counsel representing Sukanya Mondal in the case is also the President of the Bar of the Calcutta High Court.
Addressing the judge, the Senior Counsel also noted that there are rumors that the journalists are also visiting Judge Gangopadhyay in his rooms.
Judge Gangopadhyay responded to the allegation: “Yes, they go into my chamber. So what’s offensive about that?”. Amid serious objections, the judge also said he would charge senior attorney Arunava Ghosh with contempt of court and jail him as well.
Ghosh noted: “I know, sir, how to deal with a judge… You don’t know the law.”
“I also know how to deal with a hooligan like you” replied Judge Gangopadhyay.
At that point, another attorney stepped in, claiming that he hadn’t seen a single verdict from the judge in the past six years. Judge Gangopadhyay said: “Not a single verdict? You haven’t read anything.
Judge Gangopadhyay also warned lawyers against using “unparliamentary language” in the courtroom and reiterated that he would pursue the charge of contempt. In response, the misguided attorneys brazenly remarked that the judge should go ahead and issue a contempt order against them and the matter could then go to trial.
Another lawyer representing three of the accused also objected to the judge’s statements. Addressing the attorney, Judge Gangopadhyay further noted: “I’ve already decided what the order of the day will be. Don’t show me your red eyes.”.
Surprisingly, the excited lawyers reacted in unison “We will show“. “If you show it, I will despise you”Retribution Judge Gangopadhyay.
The judge then proceeded to dictate the order. Ask the judge to rule the case solely on the merits, Senior Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya pleaded “Let the matter be taken on merit”.
The judge subsequently resigned the matter for a further hearing on September 1.
Judge Gangopadhyay had also previously been embroiled in controversy after issuing a damning order of grave objections to a High Court departmental bench, ordering it to accept documents in a “sealed envelope” relating to the illegal appointment case of “ Group D staff in government schools. The judge had recorded his displeasure, noting: “I don’t know what this court will do with a sealed case in this proceeding when the hand of this appellate court is tied by the above observation. I have been prevented from taking any consistent steps to go through said affidavit. “