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Justice Gangopadhyay’s Political Transition: A Mixed Reception

Calcutta High Court’s Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay has declared his decision to resign from the judiciary and enter the political arena, prompting a mixed response from various quarters. Opposition parties in Bengal have extended a warm welcome to Justice Gangopadhyay, inviting him to join their ranks. However, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has accused him of bias in specific corruption-related cases, expressed concerns that his foray into politics could cast doubt on the impartiality of his past judgments. Justice Gangopadhyay, known for his “bold judgments,” revealed his plans during an interview, citing a desire to work for the people on a broader scale through political engagement. Due to retire in the next five months, he announced his intention to submit his resignation to the President of India, with copies sent to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court.

The announcement has triggered reactions across the political spectrum in Bengal, with Justice Gangopadhyay naming all three major opposition parties — CPI(M), Congress, and BJP — as potential choices for his political affiliation. When questioned about contesting the Lok Sabha polls, he clarified that the decision would depend on whether any of these parties offer him a ticket. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury welcomed Justice Gangopadhyay to join his party, while BJP state president Sukanta Majumder suggested that joining the BJP would be the “obvious choice.” The Justice’s association with the Left (CPI(M)), particularly his acknowledgment of training under CPI(M) leader Bikashranjan Bhattacharya, has fueled speculation, although the CPI(M) leadership claimed no knowledge of his potential affiliation.

Acknowledging the TMC’s challenge to enter politics, Justice Gangopadhyay expressed gratitude while the TMC itself welcomed the decision but raised concerns about potential challenges to his objectivity. TMC leader Kunal Ghosh noted on social media that the move might question the Justice’s impartiality in past judgments, allegedly highlighting an anti-TMC stance. Ghosh predicted that regardless of the party Justice Gangopadhyay joins, there may be allegations of corruption or other issues, questioning his ability to tolerate such claims. These concerns were echoed by TMC colleague Babul Supriyo. Justice Gangopadhyay’s past rulings on education-related matters in the state, particularly cases involving alleged irregularities in recruitment processes, have stirred political debates. Some cases related to corruption allegations in the School Service Commission (SSC) and Primary Education were notably removed from his bench.

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