Kolkata: The Advocate General (AG) of West Bengal has landed himself in a major controversy following sexist remarks that he made in the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday. Bimal Chatterjee, who is the seniormost law officer in the state, had likened the State Election Commission (SEC) to a "beautiful lady", leading to high drama inside the court.
The comments were made when the poll panel, led by Commissioner Meera Pandey, was demanding extra security from the state government for the upcoming panchayat polls. Mr Chatterjee suddenly said, "Every day, new demands are being made one after another like a beautiful lady."
This immediately prompted a protest by the poll panel's counsel, LC Bihani, who dubbed Mr Chatterjee's remarks as "unparliamentary".
But that didn't stop the Advocate General who went a step further, saying, "Arbitrary, whimsical desires are being expressed like a beautiful lady."
At this point, an outraged Mr Bihani almost left the courtroom, returning only after the Chief Justice of the High Court intervened, asking the Advocate General to not use such language.
"The learned Advocate General said all these difficulties are being done by that beautiful lady... he meant the election commissioner Meera Pandey who is a lady... We are not in a beauty contest here. So one should mind one's language," Mr Bihani said.
The senior law officer's remarks have drawn severe criticism from political parties with the Left slamming him for his "sexist" remarks. "He should publicly apologise and take back his comment," CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said.
The Congress has demanded his resignation.
The Advocate General has also been criticised by the Trinamool Congress, whose government he represents in the court. "This sort of saying is beyond our imagination... Women have to be respected everywhere," Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee said.