A new public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in Calcutta High Court by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, asking the court to direct the Election Commission to proceed with “Contempt” of the Supreme Court against recently elected MLA Dr. Nirmal Maji and Mamata Banerjee-led ruling TMC party. Concerned with increased number of MLAs/MPs with criminal antecedents being elected to the state assembly or parliament, Apex Court in a landmark order last year laid specific steps that all political parties nominating candidates with criminal history must take to adequately inform the voters that their candidate is facing criminal charges or convicted for an offense. The Election Commission also issued notice to all political parties and election officers to strictly follow the Supreme Court’s direction for candidates with criminal antecedents.
Dr. Maji has been criminally indicted for at least two separate alleged crimes and remains free on bail waiting for the trial to begin. Both criminal cases were filed by PBT president Dr. Saha and include serious charges for money laundering by a public servant (IPC section 409) and forgery/fraud (IPC section 464). In blatant violation of Apex Court’s direction both Dr. Maji and TMC have ignored virtually all the steps stipulated by the Supreme Court to adequately inform the voters about Maji’s criminal history. Unfortunately, Election Commission also remained silent after Dr. Saha raised these issues with them urging them to take necessary action against Dr. Maji and TMC. Ironically, Dr. Maji has allegedly won the election and now an MLA from Uluberia (Uttar) constituency in West Bengal. The new PIL has not only asked the court to direct the Election Commission to proceed with the “contempt of court” cases against Dr. Maji and TMC, it has further sought to disbar his from the legislative assembly. The PIL is expected to come up for hearing next week.