Affordable Justice is a Birthright; Give Western Orissa the HC Bench Immediately

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Several High Courts in India have their benches in places beyond their permanent citadels, because thereby justice sans hurdles of distance and burden of travel expenses is available to them. A bench in Western Orissa is an outstanding necessity on the same premises.

A government that claims to be a government of the people, by the people, for the people should have taken all necessary steps to give the people of Western Orissa the High Court of Orissa by extension, because it is the government upon which bestowed is the responsibility to ensure justice for the people. The government run by Naveen Patnaik has blatantly failed in this regard.

The plea of refusal of a bench at Sambalpur by a very old verdict of Orissa High Court is an anti-people plea. Denial of affordable justice to people of Western Orissa, where most of the economically disadvantaged population of Orissa reside, under any plea, is not acceptable.

Plea of deference amongst people of different districts of Western Orissa in the matter of seat of the Bench when created is a mischievous plea. The people there have expressed their oneness in demand for HC Bench by boycotting the Local Urban Body elections going on in Orissa. This should be a lesson to the Government and the Jurists.

It is better for the concerned authorities to understand that HC Bench in Western Orissa is unavoidable. They should concede it sans any delay.

They will have to concede one day. Why unnecessarily are they fomenting unrest?

Be it very clear that the demand of the people of Western Orissa for a HC Bench that they need for affordable justice, is entirely just and proper a demand. And this demand is also a demand of entire Orissa, because the issue is available of affordable justice the people as a whole.

Utkal Bharata, Orissa’s Nationalist Rightist Regional Party Registered: Offers Alternative to BJD in Political Resolution

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Utkal Bharata is now registered as a political party.

Founded by former Parliamentarian Mahameghabahan Aira Kharabela Swain, the party has recently been registered by National Election Commission.

Its number is: 56/145/2011/PPS-1.

The Party had its third core committee session on July 30 wherein a new pattern of enthusiasm and determination to surge ahead to retrieve Orissa’s lost national pride, without in anyway affecting India’s national solidarity, was noticed. Its creed is Oriya nationalism, but it would work with undiluted respect to national integration of India. This preamble to its political objective is reflected in its very name: ‘Utkal Bharata’.

Demand for Special State Status
diminishes Orissa’s self-respect

And, in strict adherence to this objective, in its political resolution, adopted unanimously, it has rejected the idea of Special State Status that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been seeking for Orissa. By insisting upon such a grace from the Centre, the Chief Minister has projected the State as a beggar, the resolution alleged. We won’t allow the State Government to compromise with the self-respect of the State, it declared.

Two-rupee-rice is counterproductive

Similarly, the political resolution came down heavily upon the scheme of subsidized rice being supplied to BPL people at the rate Rs.2 per Kg. This corrupting scheme, contrived for vote catching, has ruined Orissa’s agriculture sector by denuding agricultural workers of work-culture and making them lazy and lethargic. Ruin of agriculture has ruined the vast scope of rural employment that agriculture had been generating for generations, the resolution has said.

Industrial confidence shattered

Focusing on political chaos the BJD government has pushed the state into, the party has observed that Naveen patnaik’s 13 year old regime has derailed Orissa by rendering the administration rudderless. Internecine rivalry in the ruling party has become so acute and acrimonious that it does not seem to improve. Because of aimless in administration, not only agriculture is now in doldrums, but also industry has declined, corruption being at the core of affairs that affects industrial confidence. By re-induction of persons to the cabinet thrown out of the ministry earlier, the Chief Minister has established that in his government the corrupt is rewarded and this phenomenon has become counterproductive industrially too, the party holds.

Congress in nexus with Naveen

According to the political resolution, the Congress party is hoodwinking the people in matter of opposition to BJD. In reality, the Congress party has stayed a BJD’s collaborator in corruption and crime against the people as evidenced in absence of action against its MLAs who did not vote for Congress candidate in 2010 Rajyasabha election, which helped the BJD.

The other points that indicates to secret pact between BJD and Congress are: non-imposition of President’s rule after smash of BJD-BJP coalition in 2009; Central ministers visiting Orissa keeping mom over unveiled corruption in centrally funded schemes and the Centre’s blatant and deliberate reluctance to press the CBI to investigate into the mega mining scams carried out in Orissa.

This patronization to Naveen Patnaik’s misrule besides, the massive corruption indulged into by the UPA government in the Centre run under leadership of Congress has exposed the Congress as so much corrupt, that a government under Congress in Orissa cannot be countenanced, the party has said.

BJP would be opposed

On the other hand, the national principal opposition party, the BJP, which presently is in a leaderless state, it trying to coalesce again with BJD. If it materializes, in no way Orissa would benefit.

Therefore, the party resolved to keep away from the Congress, the BJP and the BJD and to oppose them, in order to give the people a transparent, competent, non-corrupt administration that would never compromise with self-respect of Orissa.

Land Health Card

Founder of the party Sri Swain, in elaborating the political resolution, declared that on coming to power, the party will use the Agriculture University as consultant to cultivators who would be provided with ‘Land Health Cards’ to guide them with scientific cultivation. So that, agricultural production would increase. It would stop the two-rupee-rice supply, so that wage earners would be active and agriculture would get proper man-power.

Academic Institutes to be referral points

Education in Orissa is so mismanaged that none of the universities and institutes is able to make a mark in national scenario. The party would change the scenario by making the academic institutes referral points to their respective locality, which would lead to enhancement in standard of education, Swain said.

High Court bench in Sambalpur
WODC Headqrs in Bolangir

While supporting the popular demand for a bench of the Orissa High Court in Western Orissa at Sambalpur, Swain stressed on shifting of the headquarters of the Western Orissa Development Council to Bolangir.

Swain’s address was laced with usual rightist rhetoric against Maoism.

Branches already in 28 districts

In placing he organizational report, Secretary of the Party, Ms. Bratati Chatterjee informed that in 28 out of 30 districts of Orissa the party has its branches whereas in the rest two districts, where district committees are yet to be formally formed, the party has already its active members who are taking up various party programs.

A distinguished group of political and non-political intellectuals watched the proceedings as observers.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Delay in establishment of a Bench of Orissa High Court in Sambalpur is delay in allowing law to stand with a very big segment of disadvantaged people of the State.

The High Court at Cuttack might be making the Cuttack lawyers rich; but people of the remote corners are perishing in absence of easily available protection from higher judiciary.

About ten years ago, Biswanath Mohapatra of Sambalpur, being well known to me, had requested me to find for him a good lawyer at Cuttack to conduct his case. I introduced him to a senior lawyer quite illustrious by his own accomplishments. After the lawyer agreed to file and represent him in the case, Mohapatra settled the total amount of fee with him and paid the amount in advance. During the decade Mohapatra has come to the lawyer’s chamber many times and has paid further money to his juniors as per their demands in hope that thereby the case would proceed. But the case has not proceeded. This is just an instance.

All the Mohapatras of Western Orissa, perishing because of the difficult distance from the protection of higher judiciary, are crying for a Bench of the High Court in Sambalpur. It is sad that their cries are not yet taken note of.

The lawyers of Western Orissa are again on strike in support of their outstanding demand for a Bench in their environment where they can assist the higher judiciary more ably in adjudication of cases that they are absolutely acquainted with by virtue of being the lawyers in the lower courts. We are at loss to understand why this minimum necessity of justice is being denied to the people.

We have shown in these pages earlier as to why a Bench of the High Court should be established in Sambalpur. And, we stand by that.

It is sad that neither the High Court Bar nor the High Court comes forward to help Western Orissa have a the Bench. Litigants of the western districts are unbearably suffering as they are unable to travel the far distance frequently to set their cases on appropriate motion.

People have a right to get due justice without difficulty and the State has a duty to facilitate that. The Government that plays no role in discharging this duty must be censored as anti-people.

It is time, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, the autocrat ruler of democratic Orissa, who is so devotedly concentrating on serving the interest of POSCO and the Vedanta and the Tatas and the likes, should take up this urgent matter truly relevant to our people with the central government and with any functionary that matters in the matter of establishment of Benches of High Courts beyond their original seats and ensure that Sambalpur gets the Bench that the locals are crying for.

There should be no plea of paucity of funds. The fellows in power are known for unnecessary expenditure from the State Exchequer. This expenditure is necessary.

The sooner it is understood the better.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Lawyers of Sambalpur are on indefinite relay strike in support of their demand for a bench of the Orissa High Court.

Sambalpur should certainly get the High Court bench and every right thinking man of Orissa should support the demand.

The State Government as well as the Orissa High Court should take prompt steps in this favor and the lawyers of Cuttack should cooperate.

Peoples have every right to move courts without any disadvantage.

But who moves a Court? Only the disadvantaged peoples move the Courts.

When a person is disadvantaged by some other person(s) or system, he or she moves an appropriate Court for justice. A severely disadvantaged person, whose life and liberty fall into jeopardy, needs the High Court.

But seeking justice from the High Court of Orissa is often more disadvantageous than the disadvantage a litigant wants removed, if he or she does not live in or around the City of Cuttack, where the High Court sits.

To move the High Court one needs a lawyer who practices there. And, once a lawyer is fixed, the litigant falls into a labyrinth where he / she seldom finds the remedy within reach. The more eminent the lawyer the more becomes the cost of his advice and service and the more distant becomes the horizon of justice.

Let me cite an instance of how litigants from remote corners of the State feel suffocated by depending on lawyers of Cuttack. A young friend from Sambalpur, Sri Biswanath Mohapatra, disadvantaged in the matter of his rank in government service, had requested me to recommend an efficient lawyer of Cuttack, whom he should hand over his case.

Like all highlanders, Mohapatra is a simple natured upright person. And such a person usually does not like to be deliberately harassed by another person or any authority. And highlanders are by orientation too law abiding to resort to ‘Bijuism’ against miscreant mandarins in administrative offices.

Bijuism is a typical synonym of hooliganism.

When Chief Minister after decades long public rejection, Biju Patnaik was instigating the peoples of Orissa for beating the bureaucrats as and when any of them was hit by any bad orders issued by any office.

It had given birth to such anarchy that his own secretariat staff had assaulted Biju himself and the peoles of Orissa had thrashed him to dustbin in the subsequent elections.

So a person like Mohapatra could never have resorted to Bijuism to avenge the injustice he was subjected to. The only best remedy a man like him could have besought, was moving the Court for justice.

And, the appropriate Court (for him the High Court) was situated in Cuttack. This is why he had wanted me to find out a Cuttack based lawyer for him.

Amongst my many lawyer friends of Cuttack there is a senior one who is nationally well known and whom I personally respect. I asked him if he could help. He agreed. I informed Mohapatra. He came from Sambalpur with his file. The lawyer perused it and agreed to take up the case. He did not charge any consultation fee; but specified the amount that he would take in advance to conduct the case. The entire amount of money that he had demanded was paid in my presence.

The case was filed, was admitted and was registered vide a number of 2002.

And, the matter perhaps rests there.

Till date, Mohapatra has visited the lawyer many times and every time has paid for the juniors of the senior lawyer. But till date he has not been informed of any development.

How long is the period from 2002 to 2009?

The Court has many cases to settle and the lawyer has many cases to handle, he hears whenever he visits the chamber of the lawyer.

Who can stop the delay?

Should the lawyer not honestly say as to whether any case registered after this case in the year 2002 has so far been taken up or not?

Should the lawyer not think of the distance of Cuttack from Sambalpur and the turmoil his client must be going through during fruitless journeys in pursuit of justice?

Why he is not explaining him the real reason of delay?

As a man who had recommended this ‘eminent’ lawyer to Mohapatra, I am deeply embarrassed over the lackadaisical manner the seeker of justice is being treated with.

But this is not a solitary case.

This is just a sample of how peoples are being harassed because of the geographical distance of the citadel of justice from their places of dwelling.

On the other hand, the lawyers practicing in peripheral Courts suffer from acute mental agony when the inordinate delay in disposal of the appeal cases preferred by their clients in the High Court under their advice eclipses their professional credibility in the eyes of the persons disadvantaged by the lower Court verdict(s).

Had the High Court been having a bench at Sambalpur, peoples like Mahapatra might have pursued their cases through the lawyers of their locality. Cost of litigation should have drastically been less and the legal fraternity of Sambalpur side of Orissa could have earned utmost satisfaction out of their ability to professionally help their clients up to the highest stage of jurisprudence in the State.

I support the demand for a bench of Orissa High Court at Sambalpur and specifically at Sambalpur for the very reason that it is the peoples of Sambalpur that had facilitated creation of Orissa High Court.

It is here the peoples had revolted against disadvantage caused to them in seeking justice when Hindi was promulgated on 15.1.1895 as the court language by the then Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces to which the British had arbitrarily annexed the Sambalpur district.

The peoples’ movement for restoration of their mother tongue Oriya as the Court language so that justice shall not stay beyond their reach had made the British to review the position.

In July 1901, the peoples of Sambalpur District had placed their specific demands before the new Chief commissioner Sir Andrew Fraser, wherein they had stressed that if the Government does not appreciate to restore Oriya language in the Sambalpur District under the plea that it may be inconvenient for the administration to have a particular District of the Central Provinces managed by a language different from that of the province, the Sambalpur District be immediately separated from the CP and be merged in the Oissa Division.

Sir Fraser extensively traveled through out the Sambalpur District and noted the stark disadvantage the peoples were pushed into by denial of justice in their language and by keeping Courts out of their reach.

He sent to the Government of India a thorough report depicting the correctness of the peoples’ demand and suggested that the Sambalpur District should be separated from CP, “if it was thought impossible to have Oriya as the language of one of the Central provinces”.

Kula Gaurav Madhu Sudan Das on behalf of the Oriyas of Sambalpur moved a memorandum to the Government strengthening the same with Fraser’s findings, which the British Officer had also elaborated in his work “With the Rajas and Rayats”.

Though the Government did not agree to separate Sambalpur from CP, it decided to desist from keeping the Courts beyond the peoples’ reach and restored Oriya as the Court Language.

This administrative experience latter convinced the British to agree to restoration of Oriya speaking tracks to a Province and thus modern Orissa was created as the first State of India created on the basis of mother tongue.

Had there been no modern Orissa, there would never have been the High Court of Orissa.

To keep peoples of Sambalpur devoid of getting a bench of the Orissa High Court is not only an offense against the people of that area, but also an offense against history.

The entire population of Orissa must support the Sambalpur lawyers who are leading the most justified demand of the people who in fact had contributed their best to birth of Orissa.