Clashing Calcutta HC Orders | Day 1: Supreme Court suspends all proceedings concerning issuance of fake SC/ST certificatesSuo motu cognisance of clashing Calcutta High Court Orders
The Bench was tackling a tussle between two benches of the Calcutta High Court which passed conflicting Orders in a case concerning the issuance of fake caste certificates for medical seats.
On 24 January 2024, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhayay of the Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI probe in a case alleging the issuance of fake caste certificates to secure medical admissions in West Bengal.
Subsequently, a Division Bench of the High Court led by Justice Soumen Sen stayed the single-judge bench Order. The next day, Justice Gangopadhayay issued another Order “ignoring” the Division Bench Order. He highlighted procedural discrepancies in the appeal process and accused Justice Sen of political bias and misconduct.
On 26 January 2024, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the matter and constituted a Special Bench of five judges led by the Chief Justice to adjudicate the case.
“We will take charge now”: CJI Chandrachud
In a short hearing, where Justice Surya Kant appeared online, the Bench announced that it would hear the matter on Monday 29 January 2024—a miscellaneous day of the Court.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the state of West Bengal expressed concerns about Justice Gangopadhay’s conduct. The Court stated that the issue would be taken up once the hearings began in full.
Attorney General R. Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were present as well. Mehta expressed concerns about the breach of procedure by the Division Bench in staying the Order of the single-judge bench. He stated that he would file a note to assist the Court and all parties about proper procedure and the correctness of the Division Bench’s order.
The Chief declared that the Supreme Court would “take charge” of the proceedings going forward. They issued notice to all parties in the case—the original petitioner before the High Court, the state of West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court and the CBI. The Bench also suspended all proceedings at the High Court till further notice. The Court was notably silent on the judge’s conduct and the allegations of misconduct that were publicly levied on Justice Sen.