Sivaganga Shows Us How Hollow Has Become Indian Democracy

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Sivaganga representative in the Loksabha, P. Chidambaram has failed in his case against the election case filed against him in the Madras High Court. Yet he has remained the Home Minister of India and asserts that there are 111 election cases pending against elected MPs in Courts in the country and, hence, there is no necessity for him to resign.

His challenger Mr. Raja Kannappan of AIDMK claims that he had secured 3,34,348 votes as against Chidambaram’s 3,30,994. But by manipulation, the powerful central minister was declared elected by a margin of 3,354 votes. Among many other allegations found triable by the Court, one is: bribing of thousands of women voters belonging to self-help groups at the rate of Rs.500 each through his son Karti Chidambaram.

Chidambaram had tried to get the election petition quashed, first on technical ground, which the Court had turned down. Then he had filed a misc case seeking rejection of the election petition on the ground that it does not disclose any cause of action. This misc case is rejected too, with the observation that cause of action is convincingly disclosed.

The Court on June 7 has said, “A perusal of the various averments made in the election petition shows that sufficient material facts were made and it discloses cause of action for trial of the election petition. It also contains adequate statement of material facts on which the allegations of irregularities or illegalities in counting were founded … The contention that the election petition does not disclose any cause of action cannot be accepted.”

So, even before the final verdict comes on the election petition, it is established that Kannappan has adduced sufficient and strong material facts to justify Chidambaram’s trial for corrupt practices in election.

It is strange that instead of cooperating with the Court to close the case on proper hearing within the stipulated time, Chidambaram has played the dilatory tactics of filing misc cases one after one and stayed a MP and a Minister by stymieing the process of law, thereby denying the people of Sivaganga their legitimate right to be represented in the Loksabha without any stink of infection on democracy.

The shrewd fellows like Chidambaram are able to hijack democracy because of lack of exemplary punishment and because of absence of specific election courts.

Elsewhere in these pages we have, time and again, stressed upon creation of Election Courts in every state or Election Benches in every High Court and also in the Supreme Court with the only assignment of deciding election petitions.

From Chidambaram’s assertions it transpires that, like him, there are one hundred and eleven MPs, who are facing election cases, which means, in those 111 Loksabha constituencies, people are, because of delay in disposal of the cases, in dark about whether they have legal representation in the rampart of democracy.

Fortunately for R.P.Swain of my area, his petition has ended in his favor in both the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court, a bit earlier; as a result of which, re-election has already been held in Athgarh_Tigiria and he has returned to the Assembly, whereby the people of my area have been able to have their legitimate representation in Orissa Assembly.

But the people of Sivaganga Loksabha Constituency are devoid of this opportunity as yet. So also, people of 111 Loksabha Constituencies in the country, of which Chidambaram has mentioned to pooh-pooh the Opposition demand for his resignation.

The fellows who manipulate elections also manipulate judicial systems to stay in illegal occupation of berths in Legislatures; because there is no specific Election Courts to decide the election cases within stipulated time.

Under subsection (6) of section 86 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 the High Courts are required to adjudicate upon election petitions continuously on “day to day” basis until their conclusion, whereas subsection (7) declares that “every election petition shall be tried as expeditiously as possible and endeavor shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date on which the election petition is presented to the High Court on trial.”

But normally as the High Courts are overloaded with cases of all natures, disposal of election cases, though essential for democracy, are in most cases, not even heard within the life time of a House constituted on the basis of the elections challenged.

This being a reality, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended for setting up of Special Election Tribunals to expedite timely disposal of election petitions.

But, as non-existence of such specific Tribunals/Courts are more suitable to shrewd fellows who occupy legislative berths illegally and become ministers, the above recommendation is never attended to.

Therefore, in these pages, we have been harping on about the necessity of creation of such Tribunals/Courts by Supreme Court through appropriate case laws.

In Chidambaram matter, howsoever belated it be, the Court has now removed the stymie he had cleverly put to its proceeding in the main case.

Instead of welcoming the decision and assuring to cooperate with the Court to conclude the case as quickly as possible by hearing the case “from day to day”, Chidambaram has started bragging about how his case is one of 111 such cases pending in the Courts!

Had he been any idiot in politics, the braggadocio could have been not such offensive. But he is the Home Minister of India. And, his conduct affects the country.

Will the Prime Minister wake up?

He is appointed and continues in the cabinet on the pleasure of the Prime Minister. So, it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to say as to whether his Home Minister should resign following the rejection of his plea in the election case against him or continue to convert the case to a time-consuming instance of legal acrobatics till the life span of the present Loksabha passes away and the election case becomes infructuous.

Otherwise, this case shall show us, how hollow has become Indian democracy in the hands of Dr. Singh and his team.

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Sambalpur Lawyers are Not Anti-Socials; Transfer the Collector First

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In a memorandum to Orissa Chief Minister, the IAS Officers Association (Orissa chapter) has demanded stern action against “anti-socials”, who, according to it, abused the Sambalpur Collector Ms. Mrinalini Darswal because of her official action, when the Collector herself has informed the Police that the alleged abusers are “lawyers”.

Are the lawyers just anti-socials to the combined body of IAS officers?

Let us come to the fact.

The people of Sambalpur are severely disadvantaged by unreasonable hike in land registration fees and as links between the local people and land registration office, the lawyers of Sambalpur had tried to prevail upon the district Collector to ensure relief for the affected public.

Had the Collector been tactful, as sequences suggest, her alleged embarrassment might never have occured.

That the entire city of Sambalpur observed Wednesday a Bandh from morning to evening in protest against misbehavior of the Collector against the lawyers wherein the government employees also participated in expression of solidarity with the lawyers indicates that the Collector was not tactful in dealing with the legal community, that was there to make her apprised of the difficulties their clients and would be clients were exposed to by the unilateral hike in registration fee. Arguments turned heated being precipitated by the Collector’s braggadocio, say eye witnesses.

The registration fee hike was detrimental to economy of the local people. The district Bar Association tried to apprise the district Collector of this. Why didn’t the Collector give them a patient hearing? Why she refused to see how the hike had affected the people? What problem was there for her to assure the lawyers to study the issue; if need be, to have a public hearing to know if the hike is really resented to by the people; if need be, to consult the Government in the matter before coming into a conclusion and to assure the lawyers that she had the ears to hear them when the issue they had raised was in reality linked to their profession?

It seems, the IAS Officers Association has not ascertained the real cause of the precipitation as otherwise, it could have restrained itself from misleading the Chief Minister in this matter in its memorandum.

It is a serious offense against the lawyers community by the combined body of IAS Officers and is designed to subjugate people’s conscious voice to their overlordship which they are enjoying under a Chief Minister entirely dependent on officers.

The Chief Minister should introspect before taking cognizance of the memorandum. If he has any respect for political governance, instead of acting on the IAS Association memorandum, he should study as to why, when the lady collector in her FIR has raised allegations against the “lawyers” to the extent of naming 16 of them, the said association has stressed on only one word i.e. “anti-socials” in its memorandum.

Orissa must reject the mischief of IAS officers that collectively hold “lawyers” as “anti-socials”.

The Chief Minister will be well advised to reject the memorandum with the contempt it deserves for having projected the “lawyers” as “anti-socials” and even before trying to ascertain what really has happened, he should transfer the lady Collector from Sambalpur, so that an approximate correct picture can come to him.

He will have to facilitate an unpressurised investigation on the FIR the lady Collector has lodged in the Sambalpur P.S. And, for this, it is better for him to appreciate that, in a District, the Collector bosses over the Police and when in this case, the Collector herself is the complainant, the Police cannot act freely if she is allowed to boss over it.

So, the Collector’s transfer from Sambalpur immediately is the minimum requirement of the moment.

Pending Determination of Unsound Mind, Singhvi Should Quit Parliament

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Assuming them(the contents of the CD) to be true, (which they certainly are not), would disclose only something private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members (who have stood completely by me) and to no one else” (Abhishek Manu Shinghvi when resigning from the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law & Justice ).

If his carnal conduct “assuming” to be true, as he says, was “private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members” is worth legality, Singhvi is certainly not qualified to claim that “no one else” has any right to find therein any “cause of action”.

He is a member of India’s Parliament in the Rajyasabha and that gives every citizen of India the right to be worried if his “private” conduct dismantles the discipline and probity expected of him.

The video in question displays indecent scenes of sex indulged into by a male who looks like him when he was still the head of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on personnel, law and justice and a female whom a lady lawyer of Delhi has identified as a lady lawyer she knows.

Before the general public could know of this video, Singhvi, an astute lawyer well versed in the tricks of law, succeeded in putting a judicial injunction on media organizations, which, to his information, were in possession of the CD carrying video records of his “certainly not true” extramarital sex. The court was shown that the video in question was a morphed one inasmuch as his driver, who, Singhvi had alleged, was threatening to tarnish his public image for settling a personal grudge as he had refused to enhance his salary, has confessed to have fabricated the video. And, then he has taken steps to keep the driver’s version beyond judicial test of reliability thereof by informing the court of a settlement, arrived at out-of-court with the driver.

But, if the lady who features in the sex video, which, as per Singhvi’s statement was “consensual”, is truly a high profile lawyer of Delhi High Court with practice also in the Supreme Court as claimed, the matter cannot and must not end with the driver’s driven confession in the court or Singhvi’s information to the court of out-of-the-court settlement with the said driver; because, as innuendoes wallop, the lady was caught in the act of bartering the pleasure with Singhvi for help in elevation to the bench from the bar, as he, heading both the Standing Committee of Parliament on Personnel, Law and Justice as well as the Law and Justice Department of the Congress party that rules India through Sonia Gandhi as UPA Chairperson and Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister, was in the position to help her fulfill her ambition.

The court injunction has failed to obstruct circulation of the video and / or the news.

As people are increasingly being conscious of how heinous crimes in India are not being readily remedied because of availability of judicial cold-storage facilities to crime-based litigations in form of stay and injunctions, they have used social media to see and discuss the video.

Going by the number of hits the video has obtained in course of its circulation in social and online medias, several lakhs of viewers have already watched it.

Presumably, all the people connected with Singhvi – in the circle of his relations, in his profession, in his party and in the Parliament – have seen the video.

Social media being internet media, I have been trying all these days to find out if any of them comes out in the internet with reason to report that the male satyr displayed in the sex video is not Singhvi. But, I have not seen any. This makes me inclined to assume that almost all that know Singhvi personally, are believing that he is the male satyr in action in the sex video.

When thus the assumption tilts towards Singhvi, the lady in the nasty act is also named by people who know her. Surprisingly she stays conspicuous by her silence. On the other hand, suspecting that she was partnering with Singhvi with an eye on an superior judiciary position, one Sarbajit Roy, residing at B-59 Defense Colony, New Delhi 110024, has already made an application under RTI to the Central Public Information Officer, Supreme Court of India, to locate if she has any mention anywhere in relevant records that can justify the suspicion.

Singhvi resigning from the Parliamentary Standing Committee sans any disapproval thereof by the Congress party that had given him that position and getting dropped from party positions such as the party chief in its department of law and justice and party spokesmanship, has given the public clear indication that his close colleagues in the Congress do not accept his claim that the “contents of the CD” are “certainly not” true.

In the circumstances, it is essential for Singhvi to come out of the cocoon of out-of-court settlement that he has weaved with his driver projected as the manufacturer of the video and convince the country that he does not know the lady in the said video and in reality the male satyr therein is not he.

The matter getting murkier everyday with serious implications for body politic as well as for judiciary, it is essential for the Court to elicit from the driver the details of how he morphed Singhvi into the sexual act and to test his version on the matrix of science in different labs including foreign labs within its discretion and under secrecy to be disclosed along with the final verdict.

Appropriate examination of the video can also determine if it is morphed or genuine.

These are urgent and unavoidably essential necessities.

Pending this essential, it is urgent for the Congress to ask Singhvi to resign from the Rajyasabha or else, for the parliament to refer him to a competent court to know if he is not of “unsound mind”.

Satyriasis as viewable in the video is a mental disorder and the shenanigans so far observed are indicative of abnormal developments. Both the phenomena may be interpreted as effects of unsound mind.

The Constitution of India under Article 102 (1) (b) has stipulated that “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament – if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court”.

The development, when the person is already a member, protected under parliamentary privileges, makes it necessary for the Parliament to test whether or not the person is of “unsound mind”, so that, democracy, of which the Parliament is the protector, does not go haywire.

Pending this determination, Singhvi should be made to quit the Parliament till at least it is proved that the male satyr in the sex video is not he.

We Need Such A Law

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In March, the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No. 2, at Phulbani had acquitted 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigaon police as their offense allegedly committed in 2007 could not be proved.

So also the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No.1 had acquitted 14 persons arrested in a 2008 case by G Udayagiri Police, as the prosecution could not establish the charges.

In yet another case, the First Track Court No.2 has on April 21 acquitted 7 persons arrested by Tikabali police against alleged offenses committed in 2008, as there were no evidence to prove them guilty.

Is the acquittal enough?

It is time to cogitate this question.

People of Kandhamal district are too simple and ignorant to estimate what damage they have been forced to suffer being accused under-trial.

But when they are adjudged not guilty, because the prosecution had no evidence against them, they deserve to be automatically compensated in cash for the damage they have financially, physically, mentally and socially suffered.

Steps in this regard in appropriate forums are essential.

When the police fails to prove the charges it levels against any citizen, the police officer responsible for loss of his freedom and imposition of under-trial stigma on him, must be punished for misuse of power in arresting the person, for having falsely implicated the person against whom there is no evidence or for suppression of evidence to help the accused escape punishment.

Orissa Assembly Standing Committee on Home Department, in its report to the House in the Budget Session, has come down heavily upon deliberate dereliction of duty marked in the police organization. As non-registration of FIR is an offense which the police is asked not to resort to, institution of false cases against any citizen by the police also must be viewed as an offense.

The acquitted accused must be compensated with appropriate amount of cash to be collected from police officer responsible for his suffering.

We need such a law.

Abduction of MLA Jhina Hikaka: Whither are We?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“The general public of Koraput District are facing numerous socio-economic hardships due to liquor trade and also dying premature due to consumotion of liquor. So there should be total prohibition in this scheduled District for the improvement and all round development of the masses as well as locality”.

Thus had written Jhina Hikaka, MLE from Laxmipur to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter he had coauthored with other elected representatives of Koraput District and were he to attend the Assembly, he was to stress on this in his debate. This was not acceptable to his party, the ruling party.

In this letter, he had also stressed on preservation of the eco-system of the hill ranges of Mali and Deomali. When this was also not palatable to the ruling party, his participation in the Assembly might possibly have embarassed the government were he to make a mention of this matter.

The letter had also stressed on stoppage of state terror perpitrated on innocent people in the guise of hounding left ultras just to subject the people to waves of intimidation so that they remain too panicked to open their mouths against illadministration. Had he participated in Assembly proceedings, there was possibility of this matter gushing out into debates. That could have embarassed the government.

“We further request you to undertake steps to curtail PC (percentage) to government officials in contract works”, the letter underlined. This is how the letter not only stressed on end of a wrong practice, but also exposed how development projects are being looted by contractors in nexus with authorites as work orders are being placed with the contractors by officials pocketing portions of their profit by means of percentage. This matter could have embarassed the government had Hikaka been present in the Assembly to participate in debates.

Another point stressed in the letter is anathema to Naveen Patnaik’s administration as it prods the Chief Miniter into action for release of the members of Chasi Mulia Sangh, imlicated in false cases by the police and wrongfully kept in jails even after competent courts have acquitted them. Had Hekaka got the opportunity, he could have raised this point to the embarrassment of the CM in real sense.

Is it, hence, possible that his alleged abduction is engineered by the ruling party to prempt any debate on these points in the ongoing session?

Question may arise as to why he alone has been picked up – if at all the ruling party has engineered it – when two other MLAs, Rabi Narayan Nanda of Joypore and Raghuram Podal of Koraput, who are also competent to raise the issue in the Assembly, had also subscribed the letter?

The possible answer lies in the distingishability of Hikaka from others of BJD, as it is he, who alone is close to Chasi Mulia Sangh to the extent of being the factor of BJD’s alliance with it in the Panchayat polls that has, on the basis of this alliance only, given the ruling party the Chair of the Koraput Zilla Parisad.

Whither really are we?

AICGPA :A PLATFORM TO RESOLVE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PENSIONERS’ GRIEVANCES

By Sangram Keshari Nayak, General Secretary, AICGPA

(The All India Central Government Pensioners Association (AICGPA), Odisha has completed 26 years of its service to the pensioners. The author of this article being a former Pricnipal Scientist & HOD, Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, has tremendus administrative experience via-a-vis the issues that often affect retired employees. This article is meant to share his concern with our visitors who belong specifically to this sector. Editor)

AICGPA was founded in the year 1984. It was duly registered under the Registration of Societies Act vide No. 4454-124/1986-97. Humbly yet initially it started to function at the residence of Sri Bhramarbar Mohanti after his retirement as Additional Chief Post Master General from Indian Postal Service. Sri Mohanty, the Founder President with only a handful of like minded friends started a self styled consecrated office at his residence, 355, Ganga Mandir, Cuttack. The Association with a band of dedicated Members never leave a stone unturned to resolve heterogonous array of problems afflicting central government pensioners in terms of availing justice such as a) delay in settlement of entitled pension and related ancillary benefits, b) expediting family pension in the event of death of the pensioner or even extending the facility to eligible children, c) grant of compensation to Members sustaining injury on duty (IOD) leading to incapacity, d) timely disbursement of Fixed Medical Allowance and DA as and when updated by the Ministry, e) appraisal of updated pension rules, pension schemes and ensuring time frame relief, f) catalyzing the determination of pension and providing logistics to avail preference of benefits, g) holistic welfare activities and also associated activities related to entertainment, cultural functions, health camps, periodical gesture to orphanages, support to poor and handicapped patients, rendering relief to victims of natural calamities etc. Thus, the Association is committed to more or less provide a turn key solution in a single window system.

The Association has more than 2000 enrolled Life Members besides 500 or more Members from its Branch network. It works in coordination with its supporting branches at Chadeidhara, Raghunathpur, Govindpur, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack Sadar. It musters solidarity to develop more number of Branches in remote areas (recently Bairi) to provide a better linkage to vulnerable pensioners. The Association is accredited for its agility in resolving various grievances with amicable negotiation with competent authorities. The Association is affiliated to National level forums and associations not only to append leverage to their genuine demands but also to appraise the conscientious forums to enable prioritize items of importance.

The AICGPA office is located at the Kanika Square (behind Akshya Mohanty Park) which is provided by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Cuttack on a token lease basis. Besides regular day to day activities, it conducts Executive Body Meeting on every 2nd Sunday to scrutinize, analyze and meticulously formulate course of action. Different Branches under its recognition and affiliation also organize monthly meetings which are conveniently scheduled to facilitate the regular visit of our Organizing Secretary besides periodical visits by Senior Office Bearers to sensitize its members on various relevant issues and try to focus their demands on priority basis. The proceedings and achievements are comprehensively consolidated and gets published in its much acclaimed quarterly bulletin known as ‘Pension Samachar’ which is circulated to its Members, Ministry and other Associations for better exchange of ideas and interaction. The Association observes Independence Day, Republic Day, Pensioners’ Day etc which are invariably punctuated with benevolent social activities like supporting study materials to poor students, visits to orphanages to spend some emotional moments with inmates and share lunch as well as games while imparting many of our cultural and traditional values for inculcation. It organizes Health Camps and tries to sponsor such camps in collaboration. Not to forget, at times it organizes picnics at selected spots to enjoy nature, fun and possibly rejuvenate fresh enthusiasm to dedicate more rigorously for the cause and concern of Senior Citizens.

We are a privileged body recognized by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensioners under which the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare functions dynamically to resolve problems of pensioners at large besides generating formulation of befitting rules for better governance. There are more than 150 Associations in the country out of which 28 Associations are recognized by the Ministry for logistic and financial grants to function effectively. The special body is known as ‘Pensioners Portal’ under centralized National e_Governance Programme (NeGP).

Our Association is one of the privileged grantee by the Ministry, Government of India to implement web based Mission Mode Pensioners Portal under National e_Governance Plan to coordinate multifaceted activities like formulating pension and retirement related policies, extensively circulate information and above every thing else it has developed online mechanisms to register grievances for timely and effective redressal. The member Associations are advised on the modalities to handle various grievances and have access to register varieties of pension related or non related issues through a single window CPENGRAMS (Centralized Web-enabled Pension Grievance Redress and Monitoring System) an online web-enabled system, now designated as CPGRAMS . This has convincingly bridged the gap between stakeholders and the Government not only in giving relief to aggrieved pensioners but also making them aware of their rights and responsibilities as well as obligations. It is an integrated application system, based on web technology which registers grievances from anywhere and any time (24×7) basis. Besides, it is an efficient communication system between the nodal Pension Grievance Officers of Government Organizations and pensioners that facilitates speedy redressal of grievances.

We, by default have the access to represent to Standing Committee Of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) 1986 as per the recommendations of Parliamentary Consultative Committee. It provides valuable feedback to the Government for effective implementation of the programmes and gives direction for the future course of action. Our sister concern at Bhubaneswar is a sitting Member with voting right that gives us confidence to strengthen our healthy tradition of constructive endeavour.

The Association regularly represents in Pension Adalats of various Departments like Railways, Postal etc. This ADALAT system is of recent concept. The ADALAT hears to our submissions with patience and tries to ameliorate and redress the grievances expeditiously. In fact, we are very much impressed with the functioning of ADALATs. Recently, the Ministry has released guidelines for its further aggressive procedural improvements for better interfacing with Associations like us as well as various NGOs and others.

The Association observed its 13th Biennial Conference (21st February 2012) to mark completion of 26 years of its glorious functioning with documented many milestone achievements. We at the holy sanctuary of the pensioners at AICGPA promise to sustain our relentless and unstinted service to the Members and also to Non Members indiscriminately to restore smile and faith amongst our pensioners’ fraternity.

(the author is reachable digitally at: icgpa_orissa@rediffmail.com and physically at 1245, 1st Floor, Shri Hanumanji Lane, Mahandi Vihar, Cuttack, with office behind Akshya Mohanty Park, Kanika Square, Cuttack 8. He can be contacted over phone: 9437311135)

Swain Returns to Assembly // NOW THE QUESTION IS: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE PERIOD UNDER NULLIFICATION?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ranendra Pratap Swain, victim of BJD’s internecine leg-pulling in 2009 elections to Orissa Assembly won the re-election at Athgarh, which he could have also won at that time had his party not sabotaged him, using the Returning Officer in illegal rejection of his nomination papers.

BJD had spent, according to a source in that party, about a crore of Rupees against Swain in litigations up to the Supreme Court by engaging, off the records, costliest lawyers of the country in defense of Swain’s rival, Ramesh Raut.

Raut was working like a pageboy in BJD office before being clandestinely readied to file nomination papers against Swain, that had made him de facto candidate of that party after success of the scheme to keep Swain out of fray.

Where from he got the massive amount of money to defray the costliest lawyers’ charges? Possibilities are two: (1) the BJD that had coined the scheme to block Swain’s re-entry into the Assembly for reasons discussed earlier in these pages, had borne Raut’s litigation cost. (2) after being elected to the Assembly, Raut had amassed such massive amount of money that he had no difficulty in defraying the huge cost of litigation.

When there are peons and night watchmen that have become multimillionaires by exploiting the climate of corruption the Naveen Patnaik’s government has created in Orissa, it cannot be said that it was not possible for Raut to amass huge money after being a MLA in the same climate .

But which of the above two possibilities is the reality can be ascertained if official agencies detecting tax evasion are asked to investigate into Raut’s litigation cost.

Swain’s return that has exposed the foul play BJD had played at Athgarh craves investigations into the financial foul play enacted in the intervening period, which is yet kept shrouded under mystery as yet, though it smacks of secret income and tax evasion.

But as far as Orissa Assembly is concerned, the question that Swain’s return has raised is unique and urgent.

The Orissa High Court had stripped layer by layer the illegalities resorted to in rejection of Swain’s nomination papers and declared the election in Athgarh null and void. Raut had challenged the HC verdict in the Supreme Court, but failed. So, legally, election of 2009 in Athgarh was no election.

In view of this, Raut’s participation, if any, in the Assembly must stand obliterated with retrospective effect. Had the Court order does not allow Raut to have any life as a member of the Assembly as his election is declared null and void.

So, now, it is the minimum duty of the Speaker to delete from Assembly records the participation of Raut in its entirety. When he is legally not a member since the day of his election, his oath as a member of the House must also be deleted. Therefore, all the salaries and perquisites he has received as MLA must be must be calculated in terms of money and recovered from him with retrospective effect. The Assembly accounts section should immediately be asked to complete this calculation and communicate the the same to him demanding recovery thereof. If the Speaker prefers to waive such dues, he can do so maximum up to the day of the High Court order. The HC order had unseated him with retrospective effect. Had he resigned immediately, the salaries and other benefits he had drawn might have seemed justifies, as, on the strength of the election, he had participated in the Assembly businesses till that day. But by not resigning from membership and going instead to the Supreme Court, he had continue as a member subject to decision of the Supreme Court and drawn the salaries and perquisites commutable in terms of money at his own risk. So, from the day of the High Court order till the day of his termination, whatever he has received materially from the Assembly was undue receipt. The Speaker has no prerogative to waive the dues he has received unduly by pursuing the luxury of litigation in the Supreme Court.

So, besides deletion of every participation of Raut from the Assembly records, it is incumbent upon the Speaker to recover from Raut the money he has unduly drawn from the House and to declare Swain as the representative of the Assembly with retrospective effect from the 2009 elections, activating his membership only from the day of his oath taking for financial purpose.

Anything else would create wrong precedences in handling the period of nullification as the election of 2009 in Athgarh has been declared unchangeably null and void.