In a scene unusual for a courtroom, the Calcutta High Court, hearing a dispute between the State Election Commission and the State government, provided calculators to both counsel to help them come up with details of the number of security forces that could be provided for each phase of the rural polls in the State.

“There are problems and problems and problems …” the Division Bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi observed here on Tuesday, as the judges worked out the figures.

When both the State government and the State Election Commission failed to arrive at a consensus regarding the number of security personnel required for the polls, the matter went to court in the second week of May.

The Bench passed two separate orders pertaining to the holding of polls in 17 districts of the State.

Asking the litigants whether they thought that this [making calculations] was the job of the Division Bench, Justice Joymalya Bagchi said, “This is certainly not the court’s job.”

“We are not saying that this is the best way to hold elections. Taking the matter to court is the worst situation,” the Bench said, adding that it was trying to choose “the best among the worst” options available to it.

After brief spells of silence the court checked whether the figures arrived at by it matched those of the election panel and the State government.

The court said that it would be “happy” had it not indulged in such an exercise.

It also remarked in the course of the hearing that both the State government and the State Election Commission were at “loggerheads.”