Narada bribery case: Calcutta HC asks CBI to prove how 'mobocracy' affected judgment
Kolkata/IBNS: The five-judge bench of Calcutta High Court, hearing the Narada bribery case, on Thursday ordered that it would first hear the petition seeking reversal of the order of Division Bench given on May 17 that cancelled the bail granted by the special CBI court to Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders in the case.
A bench of five judges-- Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices Indra Prasanna Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee, heard the case on Thursday.
At the beginning of the hearing, the bench agreed to make the State of West Bengal a party to the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said, "If the court doesn't take any step on the tactic of creating pressure on the judiciary using people/mob, the same thing will be repeated in future after the arrest of any criminal."
To this one of the five judges, Indira Prasanna Mukherjee said, "The court can observe if there was any pressure by mob on the judiciary. If there is any complaint over the judgement of the judge, we can observe that matter too."
Justice Mukerji further asked, "But you (Sol Gen) said that you don't have any complaint against the special court's judge?"
"There were many incidents of high profile arrests across the country and there were people's emotions too. But you (CBI) have to prove that the judgement was influenced. Otherwise this instance could go against you,"Justice Mukerji maintained.
"Unless you can show that alleged mobocracy had any effect on the (CBI Court) judge, how can you invoke Article 226?" the bench asked CBI.
"The question is not whether the judge was under intimidation or not. The question is whether the perceived intimidation could shake the common man's faith in the system," was SG Mehta's reply, according to Bar and Bench.
Sol General Tushar Mehta contended that post-arrest procedures were distorted and the High Court should formally declare that.
"Your Lordships are not being disturbed in a 5 judge composition to decide whether they can be granted bail. Your Lordships are being called upon to decide the larger issue of rule of law and whether it warrants this Court's interference," Mehta told the court, while asking them to focus on the conduct of the ministers of the ruling party and forget the legality of the arrest and the question of bail.
Advocate Kalyan Banerjee appearing for arrested TMC leaders said "In my 40 years, I have never seen an order passed by this High Court in violation of natural justice."
He added: "It's very painful that the state is facing a natural disaster and ministers are under house arrest. Firhad Hakim couldn't take part physically in the disaster management in Kolkata.
West Bengal government's counsel Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said even if bail is granted and the court later decides in favour of CBI over the issue of "mobocracy", then the TMC leaders can be rearrested, according to the Bar and Bench report.
Kalyan Banerjee then asked the court to first hear the petition on recall of the Calcutta High Court Order that cancelled the bail granted by the special CBI court.
The judges after discussing among themselves said the recall application will be the first thing they would hear tomorrow morning, the report added.