Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court Tuesday took cognisance of the alleged heckling of a judge by lawyers owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress during the hearing of a matter related to the Saradha scam.
Following a plea by advocate and CPI-M leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur took cognisance of Monday's incident wherein Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Alipore) Haradhan Mukherjee was almost gheraoed and court proceedings were disrupted by lawyers defending scam accused state transport minister Madan Mitra, now behind bars.
"The way the judge was heckled is tantamount to contempt of court so I moved the bench of chief justice with a plea that the court should take suo motu cognisance and initiate action against the guilty lawyers.
"The chief justice admitted my plea and said the court has initiated the process of taking cognisance and initiating action in the matter," said Bhattacharya.
There were noisy scenes and chaos Monday, as the defence lawyers resorted to sloganeering, after Haradhan Mukherjee agreed to pass an order to rectify an earlier order in which the court had "erroneously" omitted to take cognisance under Section 409 of IPC, that deals with criminal breach of trust by public servant.
The lawyers had accused the judge of being biased and intentionally curtailing the rights of their client Madan Mitra.
While the pandemonium had disrupted proceedings for a few hours, the judge refused to budge and working way beyond the normal court hours, passed the order allowing the CBI's plea to incorporate the section that carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
The CBI, which is probing the scam, made the plea after former Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Srinjoy Bose got bail Feb 4 after remaining behind bars for 75 days.
The agency contended that if the section is not included in the cognisance order, then Mitra who is under custody till date might also be granted bail in a way similar to that of Bose.
Mitra has already applied for bail to a higher court which is expected to hear the matter Wednesday when the statutory period of 60 days for the prosecution to file the chargesheet, gets over.
With Section 409 now applicable, the CBI has 30 more days to file the chargesheet.
Meanwhile, the opposition has slammed the Trinamool for the alleged heckling.
"Under the Trinamool, nobody is safe. From the Election Commission to now a judge, all are falling victim to Trinamool's high-handedness. If things continue like this, I am afraid that the day is not far away when a judge may be assaulted for doing his duty," state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
Leader of opposition and CPI-M member Surjya Kanta Mishra too questioned the ruling party's stand.
"The Chief Minister and the state government are bound by the court to assist the CBI in its probe. But the way she has been openly attacking the CBI, this incident is only a reflection of that," said Mishra.