Former Minister shows how corruption is rewarded in Judiciary

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Former Cabinet Minister of Orissa Sri Bhagavat Prasad Mohanty has published instances of how corruption is rewarded in Judiciary. It deserves serious attention, specifically as, Sri Mohanty is a freedom fighter and a renowned lawyer.

He has been contributing a biographical column captioned MO HAJILA DINARA KATHA to an Oriya daily titled Orissa Express. In its edition of October 25, he has given these accounts.

Without mentioning the name of a corrupt Judge, he has discussed a Judge whose upward journey to the position of the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court had begun from a lower class magistrate in Kendrapada, despite location of his corrupt practices. The man is so corrupt that even after retiring as Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, he had managed to grab the Judge-cum-Chairman post of the State Administrative Tribunal till finally fleeing away from the position due to lawyers’ strike.

Mohanty writes, he was shocked to see that his client – a notorious trader of illicit liquor, who would be punished despite his pleading, he was sure – got acquittal in all the seven irrefutable cases the State Excise Police had lodged against him. The Court was held by a Judicial Magistrate appointed for adjudication of narcotic cases in Kendrapada. Before agreeing to act his advocate, Mohanty had made it clear to the accused, that, the excise cases were so strong that, it was impossible to fetch for him any acquittal. He had responded with the words that he was interested only in being represented by a lawyer of repute. That’s all; because, then he shall not bother about the outcome.

And when the cases were answered with acquittal, it was Mohanty, despite being his lawyer, was really shocked. How could he managed to get acquitted, he asked the offender. “By bribing the Magistrate”, was the quick reply.

Mohanty got thrashed by his conscience. He grasped that, the acquittal was pre-decided. Lest the public suspect the Magistrate, a reputed lawyer was to be appointed by the offender.

Thus, at the call of his conscience, Mohanty preferred a confidential letter to the District Judge describing the case and its bribe-induced outcome in details. After 7 days of receiving this letter, the District Judge deputed the Additional District Judge to get first-hand details. Mohanty not only conformed his confidential communication, but also called the acquitted person, who clearly told of the bribe given to the Magistrate to purchase the judgment, even narrating how much money he had paid for which case. The Magistrate was transferred on report of the ADJ.

Mohanty has said that the same Magistrate was promoted to the post of District Judge and was eventually promoted to the bench of the High Court and retired as Chief Justice of Orissa.

Matter did not end there. After retirement from the Chief Justice post, the same person got reappointed as the Chairman of the State Administrative Tribunal, which is the same as the High Court for government servants.

According to Mohanty, in this position also he was selling verdicts against payola. He ultimately fled away from the Tribunal after members of the Bar raised a spectacular and aggressive strike against rampant corruption in SAT.

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Chief Minister Injures Ligament on Right Leg: Is Exposed Land Scam Too Worrisome to Keep Him Stable?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not coming to his chamber in the State Secretariat since 17 November and Officers have been taking urgent files to his residence, because he has severely injured his right leg ligament by falling down while taking a regular walking exercise in the campus of his residence.

To have such an injury by falling down while walking where one is not well acquainted with the place, is not unusual. But a physically and mentally fit person’s fall in his own residence campus where he performs the walking exercise habitually everyday and knows every bit of the stretch and its surroundings, to the effect of developing a severe injury, cannot but be unusual.

Had he remained attentive, he could not have fallen. Then was he inattentive? The question is clamant, because he is an autocrat in a pattern of administration that people believe to be democracy.

There are many instances of men in high positions missing steps or making wrong movements due to inattentiveness to the extent of exposing themselves to danger.

Oleg Penkovsky was caught, because he was seen inattentive in a coffee bar. Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Bgdanovich Rezun) describes Penkovsky as a man, whom “historians will remember with gratitude”, as, because of “his priceless information the Cuban crisis was not transformed into a last world war”. He was zeroed in by the British Intelligence when his coffee cup was noticed missing his mouth prompting the watching sleuth read in that a reflection of inattentiveness, which eventually materialized in exposure of the secrets he was to vomit, leading to change of circumstances then provocative enough to drag the world into the third (or the last, as Suvorov preferred to say) war of destruction.

So, there is reason to apprehend that Mr. Patnaik was under a condition of stress even in the morning and thereby was precariously inattentive during his morning walk when he fell down.

Though the real reason of such inattentiveness must be known only to himself, it is feared that he was under heavy stress due to exposure of land scam that was at the pertinent time hitting headlines, throwing him into severe predicament with possibility of unveiling of how he has obliged private land-grabbers, high court judges, political colleagues, IAS and IPS officers but for whose active and tacit support, the offenses committed against the people of Orissa could not have been executed.

Amongst beneficiaries of discretionary allotment of plots and houses in Naveen’s regime are former Chief Justice G B. Patnaik, Supreme Court Judge Deba Priya Mohapatra, former Orissa High Court Judge Radhakrishna Patra and others like Justice Sanju Panda, Justice Madan Mohan Das.

Beneficiaries amongst IAS officers include Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik (two places) and others like Rabinarayan Senapati, Priyabrata Patnaik, Pradipt Kumar Jena, Alaka Panda, Aruna Kumar Panda, P.K.Mohanty, Bishal Dev, Arunodaya Swain, Nikunja Behari Dhal, Asok Kumar Tripathy, Rajkumar Sharma, Kishore Chandra Barik, Ratindranath Padhi,Sanjay kumar Singh (two places), Madhusudan Padhi, Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, Prasant Kumar Nayak, Bhaskar Jyaoti Sharma, Anil Kumar Samal, Bipin Bihari Mohapatra, Bikash Chandra Mohapatra, Bishnupada Sethi, Laxminarayan Nayak, Chandrasekhar Kumar, Priyaranjan Shaha, Niranjan Sanyal, Rabiranjan Mallik, Vinod Kumar, S.N.Tripathy, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, K.C.badu, T.Ramachandra, S.B.Agnihotri, Santos Kumar Sarangi, Santosh Kumar Mishra, Satyabrata Sahu and Sanjib Kumar Mishra.

Amongst the IPS officers, beneficiaries are the Police Chief Manmohan Praharaj, and Anup Patnaik (two places), Bijay Kumar Sharma (two places), Satyajit Mohanty (two places), M.Aksaya, Sudhansu Sarangi, Prakash Mishra, Suresh Palsania, Arun Bothra, K.B.Singh, Lalit Das, Sushant Das and Panabindu Acharya (two places in wife’s name) etc.

No political leadership in the past has obliged salary drawers like these fellows with plots of residential/commercial lands in blatant violation of guiding norms, as has happened in the government of Naveen Patnaik. Obviously these fellows are obliged as tentacles of maladministration.

On chance ride on political horse, Naveen has driven away the priority of administration from agriculture – the State’s well settled source of self-employment of maximum of her inhabitants for thousands of years – to mega industries of foreign and non-Oriya root of whom the majority has looted Orissa’s natural resources, specifically valuable mines, before even commencement of factories.

He has sabotaged higher education by keeping majority of faculty posts vacant in general and technological colleges and universities in the public sector and encouraged through sheer nonchalance the private techno-institutes to fill up their larger-than-justifiable-numbers of seats with students below mediocre standards with de facto offer of post-dated degrees that parents/families with black purses easily afford as well as Banks swollen with investors’ surplus money, lend.

He has sabotaged the health sector by not educating the public about exploitation by private hospitals while all the hospitals in periphery and medical colleges in public sector are left to suffer draught of doctors, faculties and operators of medical equipments even as their indoor patients jammed in dirty and uncleaned wards get easily trapped by ever haunting agents of private hospitals to shift thereto even if that requires sale of whatever properties they possess to defray their exploitive unbridled charges, in hopes of survival against hope, in absence of any care from the State.

So, in most essential sectors – food, employment, education and health – people of Orissa have suffered a set back in the regime of Naveen Patnaik. Yet he is in power, because corrupt and shrewd fellows in IAS and IPS, who control administration, have been collaborating with him and his gang in politics; even as elements of black-sheep in judiciary have contributed to creation of a feeling that it is not easy to establish a guilty as guilty, as a result of which bureaucratic collaborators of Naveen have acted sans qualms so long.

But with exposure of how judges and IAS as well as IPS officers have been obliged by distribution of lands with lucrative monumentality, Naveen has perhaps gone into a jitteriness that he is just not able to overcome at the moment. This is perhaps the reason of his inattentiveness, which, a legally authorized investigation by a team of experienced investigative journalists and criminologists combine can unveil.

In the past, the then chief minister R.N.Singhdeo had, notwithstanding being in power, subjected himself to a Commission of Inquiry when question was raised over his integrity. Will Naveen follow the precedence? He should; because it looks as if the exposed land scam is too worrisome for him to keep himself stable.

He is so unstable and vulnerable to blackmailing by some of his senior colleagues that he doesn’t dare to drop them from his cabinet despite their admitted acquisition of additional government plots was evidently facilitated by false affidavits.

Orissa (changed to Odisha under a misconceived Act) needs end of this nastiness.

Democracy in Decadence: Motion to Impeach Justice Sen Dies in the Lower House of Indian Parliament

In the upper chamber of Indian Parliament, Justice Soumitra Sen of Kolkata High Court was found guilty of misappropriation of Rs.33.23 lakhs when he was appointed receiver by the High Court in 1883.

Upper House Chairman (Vice-President of India) had appointed a three-member committee to find out if the allegation of financial irregularities was correct and on receipt of its affirmative report, had admitted the motion of impeachment against Sen. On August 18, the motion was adopted by the Upper house with 189 members voting for impeachment as against only 16 dissenting.

The legitimate course of the motion thereafter was its adoption or rejection in the Lower House of the Parliament and therefore the Loksabha had listed it for discussion and decision on September 5.

Surprisingly, the legitimate step of the Lower House was preempted by the President when she did not reject the resignation letter of Justice Sen sent to her not in handwritten form but by fax and ultimately accepted, even though that was meant to make the Loksabha abort the Constitutional task that the sovereign House was occupied with.

The preceding article on this subject was written in this context.

But, the sovereign House has magnanimously or mistakenly allowed the motion of impeachment die in its lap under assumption that the object of impeachment no more exists as a Judge to be removed.

The President’s wrongful action has given birth to this assumption. And the constitution’s only provision against the Judges of misconduct has been thrown into the labyrinth of unfathomable peculiarities of Indian Parliament.

Supreme Court Should Open the Names of “Definitely Corrupt” Chief Justices; This may Free Judiciary from being Looked at Askance

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I have subscribed to a demand before President Smt Pratibha Patil for an independent enquiry into earmarking of eight of the former Chief Justices of India as “definitely corrupt”, as the accusation has come from a top ranking lawyer and former Law Minister of the country, Sri Shanti Bhusan.

Bhusan has enlisted 16 former Chief Justices of India namely Ranganath Mishra, K N Singh, M H Kania, L M Sharma, M N Venkatachalliah, A M Ahmadi, J S Verma, M M Punchhi, A S Anand, S P Bharucha, B N Kirpal, G B Patnaik, Rajendra Babu, R C Lahoti, V N Khare and Y K Sabharwa, categorizing eight of them as “definitely corrupt”, six as “definitely honest” whereas he has no definite opinion on the rest two.

The category-wise names are given to the Supreme Court in closed envelop challenging the Court to draw contempt proceeding against him if his naming of eight judges as “definitely corrupt”, is considered contemptuous to the Apex Court.

His challenge has not yet been accepted.

Many illustrious judges in the past have also given vent to their agony over corruption in higher judiciary. But for the first time a list of “definitely corrupt” Chief Justices of India has been placed before the Supreme Court by a man regarded as one of the finest lawyers of India and a former Law Minister of the country.

Any delay on part of the Supreme Court to take action on Bhusan’s assertion is harmful to rule of law.

If the Court does not accept Bhusan’s categorization, that should be based on public hearing with every bit thereof available to any Indian absolutely freely and instantly. If it accepts, rigorous punishment, even posthumously, need be given to the persons that being “definitely corrupt” have ruined credibility of Indian judiciary.

It is better for the Supreme Court to open the names of the Chief Justices placed under the “definitely corrupt” category, so that, they can personally defend themselves or admit their respective wrongs and accept punishment with retrospective effect.

The demand I have subscribed to puts premium on enquiry by an independent body outside the Supreme Court as judging the cases against formers Chief Justices by the incumbent judges may not be considered by common public as credible.

Yet I feel, open adjudication on Bhusan’s accusation should be preferred, as the accused judges should be defending themselves before the eyes of the people, the accuser marshalling his evidences in justification of his allegations.

Bhusan has definitely pushed the country into a deep predicament as his action has made us look the highest judiciary at askance. This is the bitterest harm to democracy of India within our living memory. This is more harmful than Man Mohan Singh subjecting the country to American nuke design and winning vote of confidence courtesy the JMM and Jadav horses as well as the right viruses.

The sooner this predicament is over the better.