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Supreme Court bench: Cannot permit any one to choose the forum of litigation

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The Supreme Court has today refused to entertain the petition by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari, seeking transfer of an election petition filed by Chief minister Mamata Bannerjee.

The Bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli have stated that they cannot permit any one to choose the forum of litigation.

Justice Chandrachud said “We can’t allow choice of High Court. Learned judge (in Calcutta High Court) can direct the Chief Justice (of the High Court) to note the factors affecting trial.”

Mamata Banerjee was defeated by Adhikari  during the assembly election held for the Nandigram constituency in 2021. The election results were controversial as the results earlier declared that Mamata was the winner but later,it was changed. 

In 2021 ,Mamata Banerjee filed an election petition before the Calcutta High Court for deciding Election of Adhikari as null and void.

Adhikari then moved to the Apex court seeking transfer of the election petition out of West Bengal.

The ground taken by Adhikari was that the that election petition was initially being heard by Justice Kausik Chanda who later recused from the matter after the CM Mamata Banerjee objected his hearing the case.

Mamata Banerjee was against Justice Chanda as he was earlier an active member of the BJP prior to becoming Judge Eid Calcutta High a court.

Before being elevated ,Justice Chanda has also served as the Additional Solicitor General for the BJP government.

The then Acting Chief justice Rajesh Binda was indirectly asked by Mamata Banerjee  to reassign the case to someone else.

Adhikari moved to the Supreme Court and said that the ground for seeking transfer of petition fromCalcutta Court is that as per the last observations of Justice Chanda in his July 7 order talk about the attack on judiciary in state. 

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for Adhikari, said that a judge hearing a case had to recuse himself after the Chief Minister revealed in a letter that he had previously been a member of the BJP legal cell.

The Court said that this cannot be the base on which a transfer can be sought,along with saying that the  case would have to be heard by the Calcutta High Court.

The Court however said that Adhikari and witnesses in the matter could be provided security.

Court said That is not basis for us to transfer. It has to be heard by Calcutta High Court. Elections of former PMs have been challenged. Allahabad High Court heard.”

Harish Salve asked the court for permission ti withdraw the case and move a pleas of grievance before the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. 

The permission has been granted for the same.

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