State Advocate-General (A-G) Jayanta Mitra and the Additional A-G Lakshmi Gupta have announced their resignations. Sources said that both resignations will be sent for the Governor’s approval on Wednesday. If accepted, A-G Mitra will be the third to step down from the office since the Trinamool Congress (TMC) assumed power in 2011. “I sent my resignation to the Governor this afternoon,” Mitra said. On being asked about the reason for his resignation, he said, “I was having difference of opinion with the state government on certain issues.”
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This is not the first time that Mitra had resigned. Last year, Mitra had put in his papers while not citing any reasons overtly. He was later re-appointed in June.
“My job is to plead the cases in the best interest of the state and I have done so during my tenure,” said Mitra on Tuesday. “Over two years and three months of my tenure, differences of opinion with the state government increased. I don’t want to intervene any further. Let the government carry out its policies smoothly.”
Additional Advocate-General Lakshmi Gupta, who also tendered his resignation, said his job required “team work and you can’t work if the team breaks down”. Sources said both resignations will be sent for Governor’s approval Wednesday.
While neither advocates clarified the reasons behind their decisions, officials told The Indian Express that the state was upset over Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar appearing before the high court in a contempt case regarding denial of permission to an RSS rally last month. While the court had asked Kumar to respond a notice, it was the Joint Commissioner of Police who did. This had angered the court.
While Mitra submitted later that it was unintentional, the court wasn’t satisfied. According to government officials, this did not go down well with the state and could have been the trigger for Mitra’s resignation.
The first advocate general to resign under TMC’s rule was Anindya Mitra in 2011. While neither the barrister nor the government had given a reason for the resignation, the move came a day after the Calcutta High Court had rapped the state for not following recommendations of the Human Rights Commission in a case of alleged police harassment.
Bimal Chatterjee, who succeeded Anindya Mitra, resigned in December 2014, on “health grounds”. Sources said Chatterjee’s resignation wasn’t accepted for weeks, since the government was looking for a replacement. The source added that Jayanta Mitra had earlier declined to the post of A-G in 2011.