Wading into the Supreme Court Collegium debate, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday termed the Union government’s approach in the matter as “interference in judiciary”.
Incidentally, her comments coincide with the timing on the hearing of two petitions at the Calcutta High Court over the twin incidents of the recent ruckus in front of the court of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha by a section of the lawyers close to Trinamool Congress and recovery of slanderous posters from in front of the residence of Justice Mantha.
“The Union government is trying to interfere in the judiciary by trying to push its representative in the Supreme Court collegium. The court is as sacred as a temple or church. Any interference in the judiciary will ultimately impact the democratic structure of the country. We want total independence of the judiciary,” Banerjee told media persons before leaving for Meghalaya to attend a rally there.
She also alleged that the system followed by the Union government in giving clearance to appointment of judges is arbitrary. “The name of the judge gets cleared in a month for appointment in a month if the Union government feels that the judge concerned is soft towards it. However, in the case of others the clearance process is delayed by three months,” she claimed.
The Chief Minister also said that it seemed that the Union government had some plans regarding the Supreme Court collegium. However, she refused to answer any question on Tuesday regarding the recent fiasco over Justice Mantha’s court.
However, a state BJP spokesman rubbished the Chief Minister’s claims and said that the latter was unnecessarily trying to politicise the issue. “The judiciary in the country is totally independent. But it is the Chief Minister and her party who are trying to influence and intimidate the judiciary. Slanderous postering are done in front of Justice Mantha’s residence. Nothing of this sort has been witnessed anywhere in India. Trinamool Congress leaders are attacking the judiciary every day. The Chief minister is now saying such things as she wants to influence the Calcutta High Court- monitored Central Bureau of Investigation probes on different issues of corruption,” the spokesman said.