Mamata defends her remarks on judiciary (Lead)

August 16th, 2012 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Aug 16 (IANS) Facing criticism, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday defended her remarks on corruption in judiciary and said she was talking about reforms.

“My speech in the assembly is recorded, you can take a copy of that. I have talked about electoral reforms, judicial reforms and administrative reforms. If talking about our country’s drawbacks is a crime, I am ready to commit it a thousand times,” an animated Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

“…I have talked about valueless judiciary. I have never called any judge or lawyer as corrupt. Every field has good and bad people. I have talked about the lack of values in various fields. What is the harm in that,” said Banerjee.

“Pendency (of cases) is a tendency. There are lakhs of cases which are pending. People are not getting justice. On the other hand, our government has already cleared one lakh cases through the Lok Adalats,” she said.

Banerjee said she not only talked about the lack of values in judiciary but also in politics, the executive and the media.

Banerjee also defended her comments against judicial commissions, saying: “There are so many commissions and everyday the high officials are being summoned and they spend time answering their questions. When will the administration work if the officers spend time before the commissions?”

Commenting about the Calcutta High Court admitting a contempt petition filed against her, Banerjee said she was happy at the move and would accept the court’s decision.

“I am very happy that you people have helped in filing a case against me. I am bound to accept whatever the court decides. But don’t forget that I am also a lawyer and will put out strong points whenever I get a chance,” said a seemingly angry Banerjee.

Attacking the media, she said: “Just as you people have the freedom to express your views through channels, similarly I can also express my views. Just as there are some good media, similarly there are some who do business by keeping elite panels in the foreground”.

Speaking on the occasion of the assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations Tuesday, Banerjee alleged corruption among a section of the judiciary.

Her comments on the judiciary came a day after the state human rights commission slapped a Rs.50,000 fine on the police for arresting a Jadavpur University professor, Ambikesh Mahapatra, in April for circulating e-mails containing cartoons of the chief minister and other Trinamool Congress leaders.

The chief minister’s allegations drew criticism from all quarters, including lawyers and former judges.

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