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Mamata Banerjee under fire for 'running down' judiciary


Allies, opponents and the legal fraternity have come down hard on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for her judgments-can-be-bought comment, accusing her of running down a constitutional authority. 


While ally Congress accused Banerjee of violating constitutional principles, the BJP said the comments were irresponsible. The CPM described the statement as a "pressure tactic".


"She (Banerjee) is the chief minister, not a party cadre. She has taken the oath of office to obey the Constitution. And the judiciary interprets the Constitution," said Adhir Chowdhury, Congress MP from Berhampore.


Banerjee raised the issue in the assembly as she was at the receiving end in the House, CPM leader Mohammed Salim said.


"She puts everyone in the firing line... Naturally everybody has to succumb to her pressure, this is the tactic," he said.


Speaking at a seminar to commemorate the platinum jubilee of Bengal assembly, Banerjee Tuesday said, "…Why should many judgments today be delivered for money? Why?"


A day earlier, the state human rights commission had asked her government to pay Rs. 50,000 each to two men arrested for circulating a Banerjee cartoon after the sacking of then rail minister Dinesh Trivedi.


"She must produce necessary evidence to support the charges," BJP's Balbir Punj said.


The CM should have been more prudent, said Santosh Hegde, a former Supreme Court justice and a member erstwhile Team Anna.


"It is unbecoming of a CM to hurl such allegations."


Eminent lawyer Soli Sorabji said the statement was irresponsible.


"...What about the cases, she has won in court? Who paid the judges? Mamata?" he asked.


"I don't want to get into any individual's comments, but those who have held and those who are holding important positions should not use intemperate language," former chief justice of India JS Verma said.


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