Consent recorded without my knowledge: Bengal poll panel counsel

Kolkata, May 15 (IANS) The West Bengal poll panel counsel Wednesday claimed that the Calcutta High Court recorded his consent without his knowledge while settling the legal tussle between the state government and the poll panel over the conduct of panchayat polls.

“It is an unfortunate comment because I was never told about the settlement or whether we have any opposition to it. We were never asked (by the high court) if we consent to this order or not,” State Election Commission (SEC) counsel Samaraditya Pal told a Bengali news channel.

A Calcutta High Court bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and J.M. Bagchi had Tuesday said that “the disputes raised in this appeal between the state government and the SEC with respect to holding of the panchayat elections in the state has been amicably settled and is being decided by a consent order”.

The bench had ordered the panchayat polls in West Bengal to be concluded in three phases by July 15, and directed the state government to notify the dates and schedule in consultation with the SEC within three days.

Pal claimed that he came to know about the consent order only after getting a copy of it from the internet later on Tuesday.

“I am extremely unhappy with the court’s approach. This is elementary. All judges do that. They ascertain it (consent) not once but twice by way of abundant caution to see that there is no misunderstanding.

“But in this case, strangely, it was not done. We didn’t know about it until we got the copy of the order from the internet,” Pal said.

“Microphones with loud speakers have been installed in court no.1 (where the matter was heard). Even if anybody speaks in a low volume it is audible. Neither I nor any of my colleagues heard it,” Pal claimed.

Observing that the consent order may pose difficulties if the SEC preferred an appeal against it, Pal said it was his duty to inform the public about the “truth”.

“As a lawyer, I have said what the truth is. I never speak to the media but I was compelled to do so as I wanted to make everybody aware about the truth. It was my duty as a lawyer to inform the people that our consent was recorded without our knowledge,” Pal added.

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