In an unprecedented move, a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court intervened in the ongoing saga at the Calcutta High Court, staying all proceedings related to a contentious case involving a single bench defying a stay order issued by a division bench.
The Supreme Court’s intervention came after Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court disregarded a stay order from a division bench, which had halted the single bench’s directive for a CBI investigation into alleged irregularities in medical college admissions in West Bengal.
Led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, the bench, comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, Surya Kant, and Aniruddha Bose, convened on a special Saturday sitting, highlighting the urgency and gravity of the matter.
“We will stay further proceedings. We are issuing notice to the State of West Bengal and the original petitioner before the HC. We will list the proceeding on Monday again. We will stay all further proceedings in the writ petition and the Letters Patent Appeal and the implementation of the single bench order referring the investigation to CBI,” remarked CJI DY Chandrachud, underscoring the court’s decisive stance.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the State of West Bengal, disclosed plans to file a Special Leave Petition challenging the single bench’s order for a CBI probe. Meanwhile, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, expressed grievances regarding his inclusion in the case.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta raised concerns about the procedural irregularities surrounding the division bench’s stay order, emphasizing the need for adherence to legal protocols.
“I am more concerned about passing an order without an appeal memo or any impugned order in place. This court had under Article 141 has prohibited the same. I am not here defending either single judge or division bench order,” SG Mehta asserted, seeking permission for the CBI to submit a note on the matter, a request that was granted by the bench.
Following the issuance of the stay order and directions for a CBI investigation, CJI Chandrachud affirmed, “We will take this up on Monday. We have taken charge now,” signifying the court’s commitment to resolving the dispute swiftly and decisively.
The controversy erupted earlier in the week when a division bench, comprising Justices Soumen Sen and Uday Kumar, stayed the single bench’s order for a CBI probe, citing discrepancies in the original writ petition and the need for the state to conclude its own investigation.
However, due to alleged miscommunication, the division bench’s stay order was not promptly communicated to Justice Gangopadhyay, leading to further confusion and escalation of tensions.
In a bold move, Justice Gangopadhyay openly defied the division bench’s order, accusing Justice Sen of misconduct and political bias, and asserting his authority to proceed with the CBI investigation as directed by his single bench order.
The single bench’s defiance sparked a legal showdown, with both sides adamant in their positions and alleging procedural improprieties against each other.
As the legal battle unfolds, the Supreme Court’s intervention marks a crucial turning point, emphasizing the paramountcy of legal procedure and institutional integrity.
The case, titled “In Re: Orders Of Calcutta High Court dated 24.01.2024 and 25.01.2024 and ancillary issues,” bears case number SWM© No 1/2024, underscoring its significance and implications for the broader legal landscape.
In a tumultuous legal drama that has captured national attention, the Supreme Court’s intervention offers a glimmer of hope for resolution and reaffirms the judiciary’s role as the ultimate arbiter of justic