If talking about our country's drawbacks is a crime, I am ready to commit it a thousand times: Mamata

The Calcutta High Court has sought authenticity of report from four media houses on Mamata Banerjee’s statement on the judiciary.

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday admitted a contempt of court petition against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her alleged remarks pertaining to corruption in the judiciary.

The remarks were reportedly made during the West Bengal Legislative Assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations earlier this week.

Based on a petition filed by Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the former Mayor of Kolkata, the court has also directed four media houses to file an affidavit on the authenticity of their reports on her speech within three weeks.

“The bench of Justice K.J. Sengupta and Justice A.K. Mondal has admitted our contempt petition and has ordered four media houses to file an affidavit confirming the veracity of the reports. Based on the affidavits, the court will initiate contempt proceedings against the chief minister,” Bhattacharya told Business Line.

The media houses which have been asked to submit the affidavit include two national dailies - The Hindu and The Times of India, and two vernacular news channels - ABP Ananda and 24 Ghanta, he added.

Chief Minister retorts

Meanwhile, defending her remarks on corruption in the judiciary, Banerjee said she was talking about reforms.

“My speech in the Assembly is recorded; you can take a copy of that. I have talked about electoral reforms, judicial reforms and administrative reforms. If talking about our country's drawbacks is a crime, I am ready to commit it a thousand times,” she told newspersons at Writers’ Building on Thursday.

She further said, “Each profession has good and bad people. I have talked about the lack of values in various fields including the judiciary, politics and media.”

Commenting on the court admitting a contempt petition filed against her, Banerjee said, “I am bound to accept whatever the court decides. But don't forget that I am also a lawyer and will put out strong points whenever I get a chance.”

PTI reports:

A petition was today filed in the Supreme Court seeking contempt action against the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her remarks that judgements are delivered for money.

The petition filed by J&K Panthers’ Party founder and senior advocate Bhim Singh alleged that Banerjee’s comments has the inevitable effect of “undermining” the confidence of the public in the Indian judiciary as “it tends to lower the integrity, reputation and authority” of the judicial system.

shobha.roy@thehindu.co.in

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 16, 2012)
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