Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday said that judges have no business giving interviews to news channels on matters pending before them.
A bench comprising the CJI and Justice P.S. Narasimha took strong exception to sitting Calcutta High Court judge Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay's interview to a news channel in connection with Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee, even as a case concerning the latter was being heard by by the judge.
The Chief Justice said: "Judges have no business to be granting interviews to television or whatever channels on matters which are pending before them."
Justice Narasimha queried "how can they, given an interview?".
"The judge is speaking about the petitioner in these terms in the interview, he is clearly disabled from participating anymore," the CJI added.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju said it is a huge scam.
The bench clarified that it is not touching the investigation in the scam and the court will not pass any order which will preclude a proper investigation into the case.
"The question is whether, a judge giving an interview and expressing himself about a political personality like thisa.the chief justice should assign the matter to somebody else. We have told you in advance, why we are concerned about it," the Chief Justice told Raju.
The top court was hearing an appeal by Banerjee against the high court's order for questioning him by the CBI and the ED. The transcript of the judge's interview was submitted to the court.
The top court also sought a report from the Calcutta High Court in the matter and said the Registrar General of high court is directed to personally verify from Justice Ganguly as to whether he had been interviewed and, in that event, clarify.
The bench said the Registrar General should file an affidavit before Friday before the registrar judicial of this court.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Banerjee, urged the court to take into account Justice Gangopadhyay's interview wherein he allegedly spoke against the Trinamool leader.
On April 17, the Supreme Court had stayed a Calcutta High Court order permitting the CBI and ED to question Banerjee in the matter of allegations made by expelled youth Trinamool Congress leader Kuntal Ghosh that the central agency sleuths are putting pressure on him to name Banerjee in the multi-crore scam in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in state-run schools in West Bengal.