The State Election Commissions sudden move to approach the Supreme Court over the deployment of security forces during the panchayat polls not only took the political establishment by surprise but also the legal fraternity at the Calcutta High Court.
Oblivious to the SEC’s move,the Division Bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi on Wednesday morning suggested that the shortfall of the security forces could be minimised if the number of the districts could be reorganised according to phases.
For the entire first half,the court discussed how to minimise the shortfall of armed security personnel with the Bench proposing that Burdwan and North 24-Parganas districts should go to the polls in the third phase,instead of second; Malda in the first phase instead of third. The Bench then requested counsels of both the state government and state election commission to think over the proposal and inform it when the court resumes at 12.30 pm.
But when the court met in the second session,Lakshmi Chand Bihani,the counsel of the SEC,informed the Bench that the poll panel has approached the Supreme Court and the case will be heard by an SC bench at 2 pm.
The disclosure startled everyone. Chief Justice Arun Mishra then said that it was better that the case will be heard by the Supreme Court. “We are happy that it (the case) has gone to the Supreme Court. At least there will some verdict now. We are fed up with the case,” the Chief Justice said.
Advocate General Bimal Chatterjee,howver,alleged that it was “unfair” on the part of the SEC to not to inform the High Court in the morning about the plea being moved in the apex court. How can the election commission can move the application on the same issue in the Supreme Court when the case is being heard by the High Court, he said.
The Chief Justice then urged the senior counsels to stop their verbal duel and said enough is enough for this court. The bench directed that the matter be listed on Friday and that it would be taken up after the matter before the Supreme Court was over.