Bhubaneswar Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Jul.27

Have judicial courts forgotten their powers to draw contempt proceedings against willful contraveners of their rulings? If so, what the High Court is doing to restore the authority of the courts within its own jurisdiction?

It might be such that no individual has drawn the High Courts attention to instances of flagrant contravention of judicial orders by jail authorities, but a particular case has been hitting the headlines of all the newspapers of Orissa as well as of news bulletins of television networks. Is it much to expect that judges of the High Court pay attention to information of public interest, particularly those affecting the authority of judiciary in the State under their jurisdiction and initiate sue motto action to salvage the credibility of Law? How then the Orissa High court is sitting silent over SOS information flashed all over that packs of convicted prisoners who were ordered for R.I. by different courts on different charges on different occasions have been freed from the Angul jail by the jailor in stark contempt of the courts concerned!

Some of the IPS officers hankering for fame that Kiran Vedi has acquired have resorted to what they say pampering the criminals in to mainstream life. And taking advantage of that, jailors have been busy in providing various facilities including visits to various temples to the prisoners under their control. The jailor of Angul surpassed everybody in allowing as many as 34 convicted criminals to leave the jail and visit their places of interest on their own accord. They did not return as expected. The jail staff now busy to rearrest them has so far brought back only 13, even as one is reported to have committed suicide. The rest 20 criminals are yet at large.

Now, the question is: did the jailor free them on orders of the courts that had imprisoned them by judicial determinations? If not, is it not contempt of courts by the jailor who rendered the court verdicts inconsequential?

The anarchy let loose by jail authorities in guise of reforms is of such venality that the High Court can not and must not ignore if it is to fulfill its constitutional obligations to superintendent and control the administration of justice in the state under its jurisdiction.

The Privilege Syndrome

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The issue of Privilege has engaged the Orissa Legislative Assembly many a times. In a recent ruling, the Speaker had to reject the notice of privilege against an I.A.S. Officer who was alleged to have trespassed into the Lobby of the House on the specific ground that he was not named. As he observed, neither the notifier nor the members who were pressing for action against the trespasser-officer, had named him. It is right, therefore, that the Speaker refused to take cognizance of the notice.

But should the matter end here?

It is everybody’s knowledge that members were so deeply agitated over entry of the alleged officer into the Lobby on the day when corruption charges against Mr. P.K.Nayak, I.A.S. were in rant and rave in the House, that, after the notice of privilege was served, members pressing it, had revealed that they had seen the officer in the Lobby. If the Assembly staff who were examined had really not seen the alleged I.A.S.Officer having entered into the Lobby, then the member, who told the House that he had seen the officer there must have told a lie.

Has a member any right to place a false statement in the House? If the issue of privilege is to be seriously considered, this question should be the crux of cogitation. It is not the first time that the House has been told lies. When Mr. Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister, for instance, a member of the ruling party told the House that a patient in the District Headquarters Hospital of Puri succumbed to theft of eyes and named a Doctor who, according to him, was the perpetrator of the crime. The Minister of State in charge of Health and Family Welfare went to the extent of saying that the said Doctor was lobbying in the Assembly campus in his favour and when caught red-handed, cunningly escaped. But later, in course of official enquiry as well as in the Court of Law, it transpired that the allegation was absolutely wrong. No law has given a carte blanche to any member of the legislature to raise false allegations against any member of the public or any public servant in the House under the umbrage of privilege and to kill precious time of the Legislature in the process.

It is time to decide as to whether the House enjoys the privilege breech of, which is punishable, or the members of the House. In the instant case, the privilege of the House has been transgressed by its members who did not name the I.A.S.Officer eventhough, according to their statement, he was found in the Lobby.Members of the House are responsible representatives of the people. They should have no hesitation in naming the man who dared to use the Lobby of the Assembly for personal purpose, if that was real. Whether or not the staffs of the Assembly have told the truth can be ascertained later.

But it seems the issue of privilege of the Assembly has not commanded the attention it deserves. Most of the questions of privilege have remained unanswered in the past and died being coterminous with the Assembly. On the other hand, cases of unintentional breech of privilege have had engaged the attention of the House in abundance in the past.

This syndrome is to be overcome in interest of democracy. It is a shame that our Legislatures have been making a mockery of democracy. As sovereign bodies, they are sitting in judgement over allegations of breech of their privileges and granting pardons or awarding punishments even though they have not yet defined their privileges by Law.Art.105 of our Constitution in respect of both the Houses of Parliament and Art.194 in respect of State Assemblies, while giving privileges to the Legislatures and members thereof, have required the same to be defined by Law. Had it been done, it could have been justiceable. Every member of the public would have been entitled to legal remedies against any wrong and emotional imposition of punishment in the matter of privilege and any responsible citizen could have the scope to invoke Law against any legislator for misuse of the floor of the Houses. The ramparts of our democracy are yet to address themselves to this constitutional responsibility.

How long must we be governed by precedents of British Parliament and interpreters of parliamentary practices in the matter of privileges awaiting enactment of our own Law as envisaged by our own Constitution? Misuse of the Orissa floor for fake allegations is a pointer to the syndrome of privilege that needs to be urgently tackled. The right of the citizen to natural justice cannot be allowed to be transgressed by the Legislatures.

Criminalization Of Politics: How To Stop It?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Most of the patriots are no more active in politics. It has become a business of the criminals. How to stop it? The whole country, from the President to the person at the grass-root, has been cogitating this question. Let me offer an answer.

A politician’s link with his constituency provides a congenial climate to political crime. Those who do not know why ought they to vote comprise the majority of voters of this country. Therefore majority of the voters are maneuverable, purchasable. Most of them are individually timid and collectively coward. To gain their support is easier for the unscrupulous than the conscientious.

And, the unscrupulous usually uses money or muscles.

A politician’s constituency link, notwithstanding his position, leads to criminalization of politics.

Political parties, in order to steer electioneering to their advantage, make heavy investments and hence, need huge sum of money And, money flows mostly from merchants, mine-owners, hoarders and others who need political power to fuel their machines of exploitation.

Long ago, one of our most revered leaders of freedom movement, the late lamented Mr.Nabakrushna Chowdhury, when he was the Chief minister of Orissa, had warned the nation in this respect from the dais of Berhanpur in May 1955 and had called for a change in the process of election.

Even as the nation failed to take note of it, he had initiated a mass campaign against criminalization of politics. His “famous speech” at the inaugural function of Gandhi Tattwa Prachara Kendra at Balasore on 14.7.1963 is relevant even to-day.

“Huge amounts”, he had said, “are raised at the time of elections from big mine-owners and rich businessmen for which no detailed accounts are kept. XXXXXXX Even the late Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, the trusted lieutenant of Prime Minister Nehru, used to raise such funds for elections” Elaborating the modus-operandi, he had further said, “As the businessmen have to pay taxes, they do not show this amount in the actual accounts book which they have to show to the Income Tax Department. They keep note of these amounts in their personal note books.” (Annexure I to the Report of Commission of Enquiry headed by Sarjoo Prasad)

From those days to the Jain notebooks that concussed even L.K.Advani, the modus operandi has never changed.

In the latest phase of political corruption we saw how grafts influenced defense deals. Defense Minister George Fernandise had allowed his official residence to be used by his Party President for clandestine collection of graft for settling defense-deals which having been unveiled by an alert news portal, he,as well as the exposed functionary of his Party, had to relinquish respective offices.

Prime Minister Vajpayee whose own Party President was also cut red-handed while receiving graft for using his position to settle a defense deal had no other way than consenting to an official enquiry. Had the enquiry been possible in a congenial political environment, Fernandise would have found it impossible to escape. His party hoodlums started sort of blackmailing the Prime Minister by threatening to expose misdeeds of PMO.The threatening stopped after Fernandise was superimposed on central administration as the convener of National Democratic Alliance that runs the government.

The investigators got the message.

Instead of investigating into the corruption in defense deals exposed by the news portal the administration got addressed to initiate actions against the portal for its modus operandi in exposing the graft matter.

During Fernandes’ tenure as defense minister under Prime Minister Vajpayee, defense deals were so venal that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had to report on the malpractice adopted in purchase even of caskets.

The Prime Minister was not unaware of what the CAG had found,but before it was a public knowledge,he re-appointed Fernandes as the Defence minister.

Nowhere a democracy has been subjected to such venality.

This is going on in India because most of the voters do not know why they vote.They vote because they have no guts to say no to the vote collectors.And,vote-collectors are criminals.

Had there been no candidate-constituency link,there would have been no necessity of retaining or using vote-collectors.There would have been no role of criminals in politics.

How to do away with the candidate-constituency link? The answer is simple.

The first step is to deny independent candidates to contest. No individual can be allowed to impose himself on the electors.

The second step is to obstruct multiplicity of political parties. All the parties now existing or to come up in future must be read in terms of their respective aims and objects and placed in two and only two compartments on the basis of political economy. They must be placed either in socialistic or capitalistic compartments, irrespective of the national or regional outfit they ware.

The third step is to ask the two blocs to submit their respective list of candidates in order of preference along with election manifestos to the Election Commission at least six months ahead of the date fixed for voting.

The Election Commission shall give sufficient publicity to the lists of candidates and the manifestos.

No candidate or political party shall be allowed to spend any money for propaganda.

Both the print and electronic media shall be used by the EC to educate the voters on the two sets of election manifestos as well as on the list of candidates placed before it by their respective party-blocs in order of preference. There shall be no candidate for any constituency but a single bloc of as many candidates as the seats available in a legislative house would be available to the elector indicating every candidate’s position in the order of preference.

There shall be no contest between candidates but the voter shall elect either of the two sets of manifestos.

Suppose, for the Loksabha the ‘A’ set of manifesto gets elected in 200 constituencies, then the first 200 names in the list of candidates filed by the ‘A’ bloc shall be declared elected automatically. For the rest of the seats, corresponding number of candidates of the ‘B’ bloc shall be declared elected from top of the list submitted by it.

If this is done,there shall be peaceful and principled election of the best of the candidates and there shall be no scope for use of money or muscle power in electioneering.

Criminalization of politics shall stop. And, political corruption shall be a matter of the past.

Has any body any objection?

Orissa: The Motherland of Tathagata Buddha

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Buddhists have the canonical instructions to visit four places with reverence. The birth place of Buddha is the first amongst them. But due to Brahminical conspiracy, the world is so misguided that the birth place of Buddha has wrongly been taken to be in the Tarai region of Nepal. And, therefore the real Kapilavastu known presently as Kapileswara near Bhubaneswar is seldom visited by the present generation Buddhists. If history is re-written, the place that has assumed the name of Kapilavastu in the Tarai region of Nepal shall lose its wrong identity as Buddha’s birthplace. Cunningham, in his “Ancient Geography of India”, has strongly argued that Rumindei from where the Tarai inscription was allegedly discovered, is neither related to the name ‘Kapilavastu’ nor ‘Kapila’ even as noted historian Dr.Smith emphasizes that the place was never known as Rumindei. According to him, it was a forged name given to the place by archaeologist Fuhrer.
On the other hand, Calcutta University’s former professor Pandit Vinayak Mishra has made it clear that the ‘Sankhya school of thought propounded by the great sage Kapila was not prevalent in ancient Nepal and hence Kapilavastu named after that great sage can not be accepted as a place belonging to that country. The village Kapileswar near Bhubaneswar was inhabited by the Sakyas one of whom was the Great sage Kapila whose philosophy became famous as ‘Sankhya’ in consonance with the name of his clan. The present Kapileswar is a synonym of Kapilavastu. This Kapileswar is definitely the birth place of Buddha, as is evidenced from the Stone Inscription discovered from there maintains Pt.Mishra.
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