Calcutta, Feb. 23: The Supreme Court today rejected the revision petition filed by former judge Bhagabati Prosad Banerjee in response to the apex court's cancellation of allotment of a plot to him in Salt Lake from the chief minister's quota under 'inappropriate circumstances' during Jyoti Basu's reign.
On November 19, 2004, the Supreme Court asked the state government to take over the 3.5 cottah plot in FD Block after paying the cost of construction of the house to the judge. If he wanted the market value, it would have to be auctioned. The court gave the state six months to complete the process.
The apex court had held that the former high court judge had misused his judicial power to get the plot, describing it as a 'nexus between duty and interest'.
Banerjee had moved a division bench of Justices S.N. Variava and H.K. Sema last December, pleading for revision of the order on the ground that his case had been misrepresented in the court.
The judges turned down his plea and as his revision petition was heard in their chamber, there was no scope for argument. 'I heard the news of (its) dismissal in the morning and I have nothing to say on it. I have not yet decided on the next course of action,' Banerjee said.
His well-wishers, however, said the former judge would file a curative petition as a last-ditch effort to save his property. But legal experts see little wisdom in the move.
A curative petition allows a judgment to be 'cured' if it is established that defects had crept in due to various factors.
The apex court will hold a hearing on another aspect of the case on March 7. It will take up a clarification petition filed by Dipak Ghosh and Tarak Singh, Trinamul Congress leaders whose public interest litigation had prompted the court to pass the order against Banerjee, asking why the other judges who got plots from the chief minister's quota will be spared.
In the first week of March, the apex court is also expected to hear a separate public interest litigation filed by All India Legal Aids Forum ' an organisation of the Supreme Court and high court judges and lawyers ' on allotment of land in Salt Lake.
The forum has sought clarifications on the criteria of getting a plot from the chief minister's quota.
As the legal battle continued in Delhi, the state began the process of auctioning Banerjee's two-storey house. The urban development department, which deals with land in Salt Lake, had offered Banerjee Rs 8.19 lakh, but he refused, saying the amount was far lower than the market value.