New Delhi, April 24
Taking strong exception to a TV interview given by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay—a sitting Judge of the Calcutta High Court—the Supreme Court on Monday said judges should not give media interviews on cases pending before them.
“Judges have no business granting interviews on matters which are pending before them,” a Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud said, adding that “a judge cannot clarify everything which is reported”.
“If this is true, he (Justice Gangopadhyay) can’t hear this case anymore. We will not touch the investigation but when a judge gives an opinion on the petitioner in a TV debate, he can’t hear it. The High Court Chief Justice then has to constitute a new Bench. But this is a case about a political personality and we entertained this on the way the judge handled this matter. This can’t be the way,” the CJI noted.
In the said interview, Justice Gangopadhyay had allegedly spoken against TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee.
“If he (Justice Gangopadhyay) said that about the petitioner (Banerjee), he has no business participating in the proceedings,” the CJI said.
The Bench—which also included Justice PS Narasimha—directed the Registrar General of the Calcutta High Court to clarify from Justice Gangopadhyay if he had been interviewed by Mr Suman De of ABP Ananda.
Asking the Calcutta High Court Registrar General to file his affidavit before it, the Bench posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.
“We are not getting into the merits of the case right now. Let the judge (Justice Gangopadhyay) just tell us if he granted the TV interview or not.”
The order came after senior advocate AM Singhvi, representing the petitioner, submitted a translated transcript of Justice Gangopadhyay’s TV interview to the Bench.
The top court was hearing a petition challenging Calcutta High Court’s order directing CBI and ED to question Banerjee in the teachers’ recruitment scam case in West Bengal.
Noting that there has to be some process, the CJI said, “The question is whether a judge who has made statements like these about a political personality should he be allowed to participate in the hearings?”