KOLKATA: Accepting the poll petition of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee challenging the election of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the latter and posted the matter for further hearing on August 12.
Justice Shampa Sarkar, who is the new judge in the case after Justice Kausik Chanda recused himself from the matter, also asked the Election Commission to preserve all the documents until the case is resolved.
Justice Sarkar issued the notice to Suvendu Adhikari, the elected candidate of BJP, and directed that the records and papers in relation to the election of Adhikari be preserved during the pendency of the petition.
On the request of Banerjee’s counsel, senior advocate Soumendra Nath Mookherjee, the court passed an interim order stating, “Pending the decision of the case, all documents, election papers, devices, video recordings etc. connected with the election (of Adhikari), which is under challenge before this court, shall be preserved by the concerned authority.”
In normal course, the Election Commission preserves the documents for six months.
The court also directed the Registry to serve a copy of the order to the Election Commission of India and the concerned Returning Officer.
Chief Minister Banerjee was also present online during the hearing. The senior counsel said that as per a Supreme Court judgment of 2009, the petitioner is required to appear before the court to present the election petition.
The case was assigned to Justice Sarkar after the recusal of Justice Kausik Chanda. Banerjee had objected to Justice Chanda hearing the petition on the apprehension of bias due to his association with the BJP when he was a lawyer.
Last week, Justice Chanda recused himself from hearing the case saying that “trouble mongers will keep the controversy alive if he does not recuse”.
Taking exception to the manner in which his recusal was sought, Chanda imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on Banerjee for “calculated psychological offensives and vilification adopted to seek recusal”.