From Courts To Votes: Abhijit Gangopadhyay And His Many Controversies

Mr Gangopadhyay had accused a fellow judge of working for a political party.

From Courts To Votes: Abhijit Gangopadhyay And His Many Controversies

The former judge has announced that he will join the BJP.


Former judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay had run-ins with lawyers, the Trinamool Congress and a fellow judge during his tenure at the Calcutta High Court and had even been pulled up by the Supreme Court for giving an interview on a scam while hearing cases related to it.

Having taken several unprecedented steps in his career, Mr Gangopadhyay has taken another -  becoming the first high court judge in recent memory to resign and join a political party. The former judge has announced that he is likely to join the BJP on Thursday. 

After Mr Gangopadhyay gave an interview to a Bengali news channel on the alleged job-for-bribe scam, in which he had allegedly spoken against senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee, the Supreme Court had come down heavily on him in April 2023 and said that judges have no business granting interviews on pending matters. 

"I just want to say that judges have no business granting interviews on matters which are pending. If he said that about the petitioner (Mr Banerjee), he has no business participating in the proceedings. The question is whether a judge who has made statements like these about a political personality should be allowed to participate in the hearings. There has to be some process," CJI DY Chandrachud had said on April 24.

Order To Supreme Court Secretary General

Days later, on April 28, the Supreme Court had asked the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court to reassign the case to another judge and said this was necessary given "the need to preserve public confidence in the administration of justice". The same day, Mr Gangopadhyay issued an order to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court, directing that the documents concerning his removal be produced before him by midnight. 

"I direct the Secretary General of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India to produce before me the report and the official translation of the interview given by me in media and the affidavit of the Registrar General of this Court in original, forthwith by 12 midnight today," he wrote in his order, adding that he would wait in his chamber till 12:15 am for the documents. 

Mr Gangopadhyay's order was put on hold by the Supreme Court the same evening.

Lawyer Boycott

In December last year, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association had announced the boycott of Mr Gangopadhyay after the judge had ordered the arrest of a lawyer from his courtroom on charges of contempt. 

While the order, issued on December 18, was later withdrawn, the association approached the Chief Justice of the high court and asked him to withdraw all judicial work from Mr Gangopadhyay. They said no member of the association would step into his court till he apologised to the advocate in question, as well as the bar.

Mr Gangopadhyay stayed away from the court for two days and then spoke to the members of the bar association, asking them to "forget any misgivings", after which the boycott was lifted.

Judge vs Judge

Earlier this year, after a division bench of Calcutta High Court justices Soumen Sen and Uday Kumar stayed Mr Gangopadhyay's judgment ordering a CBI probe into medical admissions in Bengal, the judge had accused Mr Sen of working for a political party. He had also said that the order passed by Justices Sen and Kumar was "wholly illegal and has to be ignored".

The Supreme Court had later taken note of the issue and stayed all proceedings in the Calcutta High Court in the matter, including Mr Gangopadhyay's order. 

New Innings

Having confirmed his resignation earlier on Tuesday, Mr Gangopadhyay said he will join the BJP and that his induction is tentatively planned for Thursday.

He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a very hard-working man while taking digs at the Trinamool Congress, CPM and the Congress. 

"Trinamool is imploding... it means corruption. PM Modi is a very hardworking man and he is trying to do something for this country.  believe in God and religion, but CPM does not and the Congress is the zamindari (fiefdom) of one family," he said.