The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Party plays court, earns wrath of judge

The last part of the letter signed for the CPM's South Dum Dum-1local committee by Manabendra Aditya and Rana Lahiri reads : ''Your absence from our conciliation meetings and decision to send us a letter through a lawyer proves you are refusing our initiative in favour of legal redress.We do not know if that will mean good for you. Neither us nor the residents of the area would be responsible if the out come of your move proves harmful.


Calcutta, Aug. 25: When the CPM-led government is trying to push through a pre-litigation conciliation bill, the high court rapped a party leader for meddling with the judiciary in a landlord-tenant dispute.

Justice Pinaki Ghosh came down heavily on the secretary of the CPM’s south Dum Dum local committee, Manabendra Aditya, for his “highhandedness” in interfering with the courts’ jurisdiction and issuing a veiled threat to the tenant.

Subhrakanti Dhar of Gorakshabasi Road in Dum Dum, got a letter from the local CPM for trying to evade the party in discussing a dispute with his landlord that was already being heard in the high court.

In the communication on the party’s official letterhead on August 8, Aditya and Rana Lahiri, a local committee member, virtually threatened Dhar with unknown consequences for knocking at the door of the judiciary and for not attending meetings convened by the committee to settle the dispute.

An angry Justice Ghosh said: “What is going on here' If this sort of thing happens in the city, then what is happening to the villagers'

“The secretary of the local committee will have to answer to the court why contempt proceedings should not be drawn up against him. Otherwise, I will inform the matter to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and state CPM secretary Anil Biswas.”

Aditya and Lahiri wrote to Dhar: “It is clear you are trying to avoid us. You are not ready to accept the decision of the majority of the locality.”

The letter went on to say that the party or the locality would not be responsible for the consequences of Dhar’s appeal in court.

Dhar, who moved court last month against his landlord, Subhrashankar De, submitted the letter today. He had alleged earlier that his landlord had snapped his water supply.

Dhar’s lawyer Achyut Basu said the landlord took the dispute to the local committee. “My client is not ready to go to any political party for settlement as the case is pending with the high court. But the local CPM is forcing him to settle the dispute before them. It is completely illegal and amounts to interfering with the judiciary,” Basu said.

Aditya’s lawyer told the court that he made a mistake by writing the letter. “However, his intention was good and he wanted to restore peace between the landlord and the tenant,” the lawyer said.

The court was not happy with the explanation. The judge said: “Your client has made a very bad gesture. I consider the letter a threat to the petitioner. He will have to appear before the court on Friday.”

The lawyer’s body opposing the conciliation bill said it is being enacted to legalise such “settlements by party workers”.

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