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23 Mar 2017

Glare on barbs at HC in affidavit

TT, Calcutta, March 22: The three sentences in the Bengal government's Supreme Court affidavit that cast aspersions on Calcutta High Court did not catch the attention of a minister, a Trinamul MP, some bureaucrats and two senior lawyers when the draft of the petition was forwarded to them, sources said today.
While hearing the government's appeal against the high court order of a CBI probe into the Narada sting, the Supreme Court yesterday sought the apology of the Bengal administration for making such remarks against the high court.
The state government's petition had said: "Findings of the high court are perverse, done with a pre-conditioned mind. High court has developed a bias. High court has transgressed all constitutional norms and made unwarranted comments."
After tendering an unconditional apology, the Bengal government lawyers had withdrawn the petition. "It was embarrassing for the government. An unofficial inquiry was immediately started," a source said. Initially, sources in the government had blamed its panel of lawyers in Delhi for the "objectionable" content and it was communicated to the media unofficially that none in the Bengal administration was aware of how the petition had been worded.
"Steps were initiated to remove Parijat Sinha, the state's advocate-on-record in the Supreme Court, and Mrinal Mondal, a government-panel lawyer in the apex court. The process is yet to be complete," a source said.
Lawyers privy to the developments said Sinha and Mondal could not be held solely responsible for the gaffe.
"The draft was prepared by some government-panel lawyers in Calcutta. Then it was vetted by a minister and a ruling party MP before being sent to some senior bureaucrats. All of them had vetted the draft and then only the petition was filed in the Supreme Court. The question is how did the three sentences escape the attention of so many experienced eyes," a source said.
Some lawyers and legal department officials said the inclusion of such "derogatory remarks" was uncalled for.
"One doesn't have to be a legal luminary to know casting aspersions on judges is a strict no-no. I don't know why no one objected to the statements. The question is whether it was an oversight or a deliberate move to air the feelings of some senior politicians in the government," a lawyer said.

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