Calcutta, March 31: Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the order sentencing him to jail for contempt of court was 'unexpected'.
A division bench of Calcutta High Court today sentenced Bose to three days of simple imprisonment for making contemptuous remarks against Justice Amitava Lala after he passed a judgment restricting rallies in the city on working days. Bose has also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 and stay in jail for one more day in case of default.
A visibly shaken Bose said at the CPM headquarters on Alimuddin Street that he was not 'shocked' at the order. 'Why should I be shocked at the order' I have not done anything illegal in my life. So, there is no reason for me to be upset. But the order is unexpected,' said the CPM politburo member.
Bose ducked a question on whether the order was biased. 'I will not make any comment on this because I am involved in the case.'
The Left Front chairman received the news around 4.15 pm from state CPM secretary Anil Biswas with whom he was closeted for half an hour.
Bose said he had not passed any comments against the judiciary or any judge, but had only aired the people's sentiments on the order restricting rallies. 'I have never made any derogatory remarks about the judiciary or any individual judge. I will not make any such comments in the future also,' he said.
'I am in active politics for the past few decades and interact directly with people from all walks of life. I can feel the pulse of the people of Bengal. What I had said about Justice Lala's order was based on my experience and my ability to feel the pulse of the people. There was nothing in my remarks against the judge or the judiciary,' he said.
The Left leader's lawyer and former advocate-general of Tripura, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, said his client would challenge the order in the Supreme Court.
Bhattacharya said, soon after the judgment was delivered a little after 4 pm, he had moved a petition seeking a four-week stay on the operation of the order. 'The division bench has granted my plea,' he said.
'I still believe that Biman Bose's comment on Justice Lala's judgment was merely the reaction of a political leader,' asserted the lawyer.
The lawyer said he would apply for the certified copy of the judgment. 'After obtaining it we will move a special leave petition in the apex court,' he said.
The lawyer claimed there were certain points in today's order that could be challenged in a higher court.
Biswas said the legal cell of the CPM was being consulted.
The path to prison
A chronology of events that led to Bose being sentenced to jail
September 29, 2003: Justice Amitava Lala passes an order restricting rallies on city roads on working days
October 4: Left Front chairman Biman Bose at a press conference at CPM headquarters on Alimuddin Street asks: “Ekhon jodi kono comrade michil theke slogan tole ‘Lala Bangla chere pala’, tobe ami ki kore take badha debo (If a comrade during a rally raises the slogan ‘Lala, leave Bengal’, how can I stop him)'”
October 13: City-based advocates Idris Ali and Kallol Guha Thakurta move a petition before the high court demanding suo motu contempt proceedings against Bose for the remark.
October 17: The division bench of Justices Ashok Kumar Ganguly and S.P. Talukdar admits the petition, issues a contempt notice against Bose and asks him to appear on November 7.
November 7: Bose attends court and is exempted from future hearings.
March 31, 2005: Court finds Bose guilty of contempt and sentences him to three days’ simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 and imprisonment for one more day in case of default.