Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, a judge at the Calcutta High Court, has found himself in the midst of a heated controversy. The incident began when he ordered the arrest of advocate Prosenjit Mukherjee on contempt charges during a courtroom proceeding. This decision has since sparked a massive row, with the bar association demanding a boycott of all proceedings involving Justice Gangopadhyay.
The judge’s order came after he took issue with the conduct of advocate Mukherjee during a case related to the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission. Despite the lawyer’s apology, Justice Gangopadhyay remained adamant and instructed the court’s sheriff to keep advocate Mukherjee in civil prison. Only after several lawyers appealed for the withdrawal of the order did the judge agree and release the advocate. However, by then, the damage had already been done.
In a subsequent hearing, advocate Mukherjee expressed his concerns about the possibility of being detained again. It was during this hearing that a division bench consisting of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya temporarily suspended Justice Gangopadhyay’s order of three days’ imprisonment for the lawyer. The bench emphasized the importance of maintaining the purity of the administration of justice and upholding the independence of the judiciary while also highlighting the need for judicial restraint and discipline.
Meanwhile, the bar association has taken a strong stance against Justice Gangopadhyay. They have called upon Calcutta High Court Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam to withdraw all judicial work from the controversial judge. The lawyers’ body has made it clear that no member of the association will attend Justice Gangopadhyay’s court until he apologizes to advocate Mukherjee and the bar.
This is not the first time that Justice Gangopadhyay has courted controversy. Earlier this year, he faced reprimand from the Supreme Court for giving interviews to television channels regarding a high-profile case he was presiding over. The Supreme Court criticized his actions, stressing that judges should refrain from granting interviews on pending matters. Consequently, the case was reassigned to a different judge, although Justice Gangopadhyay contested his removal by seeking the underlying documents. The Supreme Court temporarily suspended this order, putting the matter on hold.