BIJU VIRUS YET AGAIN INJECTED INTO MAJOR OFFICIAL PROJECT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is good that Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched on Thursday a 656 km Expressway, which, he claims, would help economic development in Western Orissa including the KBK districts. But it is bad that he has injected the Biju virus yet again into such a major official project by naming it as ‘Biju Expressway’, though neither he nor any of the family members of Biju Patnaik is to bear the cost thereof.

The entire cost of its construction presently estimated Rs. 3,200 crores is to be shouldered by the public exchequer.

It would be fulfillment of promises made in his party’s election manifesto, the CM has said. But nowhere in BJD manifesto, there was any mention of ‘Biju Expressway’. The expressway is named after Biju, because the CM knows that he is winning elections only by confusing the people with official projects named after Biju when the party – Biju Janata Dal – under the banner of which he is occupying office is also named after Biju.

The gullible people, who are uninformed, less-informed and/or misinformed, but constitute the majority, mistake the welfare programs as programs of Biju Patnaik and/or his son Naveen. Massive propaganda of a highly mischievous contrivance like ‘dreams of Biju’ is overwhelming the gullible voters into this mistake. This is the only reason behind his success in elections, despite his anti-people aptitude and habit of ignoring the interests of the toiling masses.

The Biju virus, like liquor boosts up assertiveness in hooligans, has increased bragging vainglory in the ruling Biju Janata Dal so wildly that, when recent exposure in discretionary quota scandal, mines loot and chit fund felonies pushed many of its top leaders to their naked nastiness, they had the audacity to assert that whatsoever be the exposure, they won’t be affected, because the people have love for Biju’s son as they are benefiting from Biju KBK Jojana, Biju Gramya Bidyut Jojana, Biju Gram Jyoti Programme, Biju Saharanchal Bidyutikaran Yojana, Biju Krusak Kalyan Jojana, Biju Yuba Sashaktikarana Jojana, etcetera.

Naveen has not condemned this audacity of his corrupt colleagues, because he knows that through their swaggering only, he is thriving and can continue in power.

He treats the State as his father’s fee simple that he has inherited and takes the people as a foolish lot whom it is easy to cheat by naming the official projects by Biju. So, instead of giving good governance, he is busy in multiplying Biju-named projects with the funds of the State. This is yet again proved, as the Works Department has been forced to spend around a crore of rupees in full page advertisement in the name of ‘Biju Expressway’ in obliging media. Besides injecting Biju virus into pneuma of the people of KBK region and Western Orissa, it aims at procuring media silence on this political misuse of official resources and official projects/programs.

The Press in prostitution

The Press in Orissa is so shamelessly in prostitution, that, despite knowing how official projects named after Biju are misguiding the voters into the political trap of BJD, destroying thereby the very purpose of democracy, they have been eagerly accommodating the misuse of official funds in advertisements that link Biju to welfare of the people, whom, when alive, in fact, the people of Orissa had thrown into the political dustbin to avenge the treachery he had played against them.

ORISSA MATTERS postings on this treacherous practice are of relevance more even now.

One may peruse my posting – Wake up S.E.C. Orissa! Put Biju statues under cover and obliterate his name overshadowing official projects

One may also peruse the posting – Election Commission now must ban operation of all Orissa projects named after Biju Patnaik

These postings were addressed to the Election Commission. Had the EC acted prudently after these postings and denied operation of projects named after Biju, it would never have been possible for Naveen Patnaik to return to power with the strength he has come.

If the name of Biju is dropped from the officially run welfare projects, and/or the ruling party is divested of the name of Biju, the scenario would be different.

Official programs named after Biju stamp his name so deeply in the minds of the gullible people that they link those programs to Biju and to the party named after him; and go to the polling booths overwhelmed by the name of Biju, which helps Biju Janata Dal in gaining their votes.

If the official programs are freed from the Biju tag, the scenario should so drastically change that the so-called popularity of Naveen that his sycophants day and night boast of, would find its place not in the vote boxes, but in the trash box of Time, never to get revived.

He knows it.

Therefore, yet again, he has named the major expressway of Western Orissa in the name of his father Biju, as if there is no other name that counts in Orissa.

The name needs be changed

Naming the hundred per cent exchequer-funded Expressway after Biju Patnaik is an affront to the mana of Western Orissa that had tremendously contributed to formation of Orissa as well as freedom of India in hope for democracy.

There is no difficulty or problem in naming it as ‘Chandili-Rourkela Expressway’ with due honor to the stretch of the land to be served by it.

Or, if a human name is so essential – which is not at all – a name from amongst the freedom fighters of the area, whose selfless sacrifices have given us independence, may be given to the project.

It may be named ‘Lakshman Naik Expressway’ after the famous martyr, who was hanged to death by the British in the Berhampur jail on 29 March 1943 for his active participation in freedom movement. It may also be named ‘Veer Surendra Sai Expressway‘ whose supreme sacrifice in fight against the British has remained a permanent source of inspiration for people in the whole landmass in the western part of Orissa.

Go to any district to be served by this Expressway, you will find many illustrious children of the soil.

One of the earliest martyrs to have raised the sword against the British was Khara Malaya of Ghasaba of Malkangiri, whose brave wife Khara Parvati had also enriched the martyrdom after fighting against the British.

Parvati had led a very unique battle against the British from 1900 to 1915, after her husband was killed by the foreigners. She had often overwhelmed the British by her Guerilla warfare.

Name the expressway by this unique heroin Parvati or by the name of her martyr husband Malaya and make it ‘Khara Malaya Expressway‘ or ‘Khara Parvati Expressway‘, if a human name carrying the mana of the concerned area is required.

Yet, much ahead of these freedom fighters, a Bonda woman, regarded as Bonda Mahadei, had raised an army of Bonda people to gain back independence. Bonda people worship her as their Goddess. Christen the Expressway as ‘Bonda Mahadei Expressway‘ if you want to prefix a human name to the project.

Bolangir born Bharat Chandra Nayak, who had adopted Sambalpur as his home, was subjected to unfathomable sufferings by the conservatives as he insisted on women emancipation through modern education. He is the yet unrecognized father of women education in Orissa, specifically Western Orissa. Name the Expressway after him by christening it ‘Bharat Nayak Expressway‘ if you need a name.

Orissa’s delivery of Buddhism apart, if applied Buddhism got the boost and scriptures from any, she was a woman namely  Laxminkara, who ruled over Sonepur. She founded Sahajayan, when her brother, philosophic leader of Sambalaka (Sambalpur) Indrabhuti had given birth to Vajrayan and to the Jagannatha cult that has given Orissa world recognition. Take any of them – Indrabhuti or Laxminkara – to name the Expressway if you honor intellectual and cultural heritage of Orissa.

Make it ‘Gangadhar Meher Expressway‘ or ‘Sir Basudev Sudhala Dev Expressway‘ if there is an unavoidable need of a human name to be prefixed to the project

The entire landmass spanning from Chandili to Rourkela, as the Expressway proposes to serve, is full of illustrious personalities. If a human name is required, name the Expressway after any one of them.

Why the name of Biju who betrayed India in China aggression and corrupted administration through self-aggrandizing corruption?

When alive, Biju was rejected

Biju was a man who had betrayed the state for his personal benefits, for which, time and again, the people of Orissa had been ejecting him out of power and, in fact, when he had died, he was in the political trash, as the disgusted people of Orissa, betrayed by him to the core, had refused him a fresh mandate.

This writer, in his column ‘Singhavalokana’ in Orissa’s acclaimed daily ‘Sambad’, had exposed his offenses, even when he was alive and in power. Those well-researched articles are published in two Oriya books – ‘Singhavalokanare Biju’ and ‘Singhavalokana’ – both published by Bharata Bharati, Cuttack. After his demise, as his posthumous political use necessitated journalistic juxtaposing of reality with cooked up legends, this writer had deemed it a duty to recall him again, in respecting the right of the people to be informed, in these pages. Some relevant ones from those postings are published in his book ‘Animadversion’, published by Santosh Publications, Cuttack, for anybody to go through and counter if the documentary evidences used therein are not found correct. So far there is no counter.

Conspiracy to make Biju a cult figure

If one rightly remembers how Naveen came to power, as also founders of BJD recall, the people of Orissa being, by nature, magnanimous, had instantly forgiven Biju, the moment he died a pathetic death, as by then such a situation had developed where the people had already inferred that for all his misdeeds, he had been sufficiently punished, being pushed into an abandoned condition in the last phase of life, which could have ended earlier if Dillip Ray, who was not his family member, not taken him to his personal care out of pity.

Despite public dislike exhibited in refusal of a fresh mandate to him, the then Chief Minister J.B.Patnaik in his superlative condolences created a sympathy wave that his protégés later used to create a political party after his name with his son Naveen as its President.

And, thus, eventually, when Naveen occupied the CM chair riding the sympathy wave, and the state administration run rudderless because of his lack of experience, creating a feeling amongst the general public that it was a wrong to have rejected the JB led Congress, astute bureaucrat-turned politician in BJD Mr. Pyari Mohan Mohapatra advised him to jettison some of his cabinet colleagues from whom there was a treat to his leadership, on grounds of corruption, so that the people should have an occasion to compare between him and JB in the matter of patronage to corrupt colleagues, consequent upon which Naveen would appear more acceptable, to the total detriment of JB’s dreams to recapture power.

This of course saved Naveen at that critical juncture. But the rest of the leaders in BJD knew that Naveen’s habitual nonchalance would ultimately harm their party.

So, they shifted their emphasis from Naveen to Biju before the sympathy wave over his demise was totally waned.

They started a new experimentation.

Attempts to build up Biju image

They used a secret agent to behead a statue of Biju Patnaik in a village and immediately thereafter, on August 1, 2006, they stonewalled the Assembly proceedings in protest against the so-called desecration of the statue of Biju, which continued for two days with similar protests enacted in the Parliament as well as streets of Orissa. This they used to elevate the rejected Biju Patnaik to a cult figure.

As the pampered and tamed media kept quiet, I had to inform my readers on this intricate issue on 9.8.2006 under the caption:

Ban posthumous deification of Biju and the likes.

Thereafter they have adopted the technique of naming state funded welfare programs after Biju Patnaik starting with Biju KBK Yojana.

The virus has penetrated into all official welfare programs and government offices as well as places of public interest. It would be gainful to peruse the above article along with the two articles mentioned supra for proper diagnosis of the disease that has afflicted Orissa through this virus.

The disease is too serious to be ignored, if we love our motherland and democracy that our martyrs in the struggle for freedom had suffered for.

Stick to Sambalpur, don’t dilute

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A former minister, who heads the BJD in Kalahandi has moved his party boss -cum- chief minister Naveen Patnaik to help his district headquarters in having the High Court Bench in demand for Western Orissa. Bolangir has a similar claim. Rourkela is not far behind. This fissure amongst people of Western Orissa over where the bench should be established, as and when it becomes possible, suits the most to elements that are not in favor of creation of a bench for western Orissa.

The Western Orissa Development Council is, because of feuds and fissures amongst the inhabitants of that part of the State, having its headquarters at Bhubaneswar, to the detriment of interest of the affected people.

The feud has a historical background, in as much as the entire western Orissa was under feudal kings and landlords and separated with rival territorial nationalism for ages.
This rivalry is inherent and continues till date, as post-independence governments of Orissa have never wanted emotional integration of the people of that region.

Unless the people of Western Orissa overcome their age-old territorial psycho-differences, their dreams for affordable justice with a High Court bench in their midst, would not come true. Like the WODC continuing at Bhubaneswar, Western Orissa’s entitlement to affordable justice will continue getting smashed at the alter of the High Court at Cuttack.

So, friends in Western Orissa, if you sincerely want a bench of the High Court, do not dilute the justified demand with unjustified psycho-territorial nationalism and stick to Sambalpur, the headquarters of the Revenue Division, for the purpose of the bench.

When the British had arbitrarily annexed Orissa’s western region to the Central Province as it then was, Sambalpur was the headquarters of the Oriya tracts, which now is being identified as Western Orissa.

It is from Sambalpur, Orissa’s world outlook was redefined by the founder of Vajrayana, personifying the Uddiyana concept, Indrabhuti.

It is again Sambalpur, where resurrection of modern Orissa had commenced by retrieval of the Oriya specking tracks from the Hindi speaking Central Province.

Therefore, friends, concentrate on having the High Court bench at Sambalpur and discard district-based-differences.

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.

HIGH COURT BENCH IN WESTERN ORISSA – AN OVER VIEW: By Sri Gobardhan Pujari, Advocate, Rourkela

[There is no logic in not establishing a permanent Bench of Orissa High Court in Western Orissa. No judgment of any court and no member of any bar should be allowed to derail the right of the people to get justice sans hurdles. Absence of benches of the High Court is a very great hurdle for justice. Therefore, we in ORISSA MATTERS have always supported the demand for a bench of Orissa High Court in Western Orissa. These pages carry our views on various dates like Feb. 3, 2009,Sept. 29, 2010,August 31, 2011, Jan. 23, 2012
Now as a historic solidarity amongst the inhabitants of Western Orissa in demand for the High Court Bench is so well defined, we deem it proper to post an over view on the issue from the pen of eminent lawyer and activist Sri Gobardhan Pujari, which, we are sure, will be of immense utility in course of settling the issue. Editor]

There is unrest amongst lawyers of Western Orissa and they are demanding for a permanent bench of Orissa HIGH Court.

Rourkela and Bolangir Bar are demanding bench in their respective places. On the other hand the advocates of other places are demanding the bench in any place of Western Orissa. This issue can be addressed by considering the origin and development of Orissa High Court.

Cuttack, Balasore, Puri and Anugul were the four districts consisting of Orissa Division under Bengal. In 1905, Sambalpur district was transferred to Orissa Division from Central provinces. Thus these five districts constituted the Orissa Division were transferred to the province of Bihar. These districts were under Patna High Court.

On 9.02.1916, the Patna High Court, invoking the power vested under the Letters Patent, ordained that one or more Judges of the High Court would visit Orissa by way of circuit wherever the Chief Justice from time to time appoint, in order to exercise in respect of cases arising in Orissa jurisdiction and power vested in the High Court.

Thus to deliver justice at door step even during the British Raj the decision of the Patna High Court was praise worthy and the people of Orissa became jubilant.

The then Chief Justice of Patna High Court Edward Chamiers and Justice Sharfuddin constituted the Circuit Bench and had the first sitting in May, 1916.
Thus the people of Orissa, even during the British period got justice delivery system in twenties of 20th Century. But that did not fulfil the aspiration of the people.

The people were fighting for a seperate state which became a reality on 1.4.1936. Still Orissa had no separate High Court. The people of Orissa had to wait till India got independence and the Garjats popularly known as States merged with Union of India.

Establishment of Orissa High Court

In 1948 every state had a separate High Court save and except Assam and Orissa. In April, 1948 Assam High Court was inaugurated and Orissa High Court was inaugurated on the 26th July, 1948 by the Chief Justice of India Hon’ble H. J. Kania and the meeting was presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Asaf Ali, Bar-at-Law, the then Governor of Orissa. The other dignitaries attended the inaugural function included Dr. K. N. Katju, the then Governor of Bengal and former Governor of Orissa, Chief Justice of Patna High Court Hon’ble C. M. Agarwal, Sir S. M.Bose, Advocate General of Bengal and Sir Sultan Ahmed of Patna. Before the Orissa High Court came into being, All Orissa Lawyers Association had come into being on 27th March, 1948 and the said conference was inaugurated by Dr. K. N. Katju, the then Governor of Orissa. In this inaugural address his Excellency Dr. Katju had said-

“The comradeship of the Bar is one of the strongest phenomena in the world. I don’t think such fine fellowship and espirit de corps exists in any other profession. Members of the Bar spend their life seemingly in perpetual contention and rivalry, but the mutual regard and esteem and genuine affection which they entertain for each other is really one of the most beautiful things in the world. Other people find it hard to believe. Of a fellow member who by dint of merit and ability achieves success and fame, every one in profession feels proud indeed. The brotherhood of the Bar is not circumscribed by any parochial considerations or geographical limits. It transcends all barriers of race and country and language. It is a fraternity which rightfully claims to be almost all pervasive and everywhere true to its traditions it endeavours to promote the administration of justice between man and man without fear and favour, with the utmost impartiality, unaffected by any ulterior considerations.

High Court of Ex-States

Just before the independence of India the rulers of Athagarh, Athamallik, Bamra, Baramba, Bastar, Baudh, Bonai, Changbhakar, Chhuikhadan, Dasapalla, Dhenkanal, Gangpur, Hindol, Jashpur, Kalahandi, Kanker, Kawardha, Keonjhar, Khairagarh, Khandapara, Kharswan, Korea, Nandagoan, Narsinghpur, Nayagarh, Nilagiri, Pallahara, Patna, Raigarh, Rairakhol, Sakti, Sarangarh, Seraikela, Sonepur, Surguja, Talcher, Tigiria and Udaipur resolved to constitute a Common High Court and the Resident of Eastern States had issued a Kharita to Maharaja Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo Maharaja of Patna and other rulers which reads as under.

“It gives me much pleasure to inform you by means of this Kharita that, in view of the active interest displayed by you in co-operative measures for the administration of your State and the welfare of your subjects and of the fact that you have elected to join the scheme for a Common High Court for the Orissa and Chhattishgarh States as approved by His Excellency the Crown Representative, His Excellency has decided to relinquish, for so long as you continue to participate in the said scheme for a Common High Court, the requirement imposed by your Sanand that persons sentenced to death shall be given every facility for submitting a petition of mercy to the Resident. Nothing in this Kharita shall be construed as a conferring any authority in respect of a criminal case in which the person accused is a European, a European British subject, an American or a servant of the Crown.”

The principal seat of the said High Court was at Raigarh and hardly it had sittings in some places for once or twice including Bolangir. As on date, there is neither any permanent or circuit bench of any High Court in any of those states.

Circuit Bench of Orissa High Court
mooted by Orissa Lawyers

After the enactment of Advocates Act and constitution of the Bar Councils it was considered not necessary to continue with the All Orissa Lawyers’ Association. The last conference was held at Puri where late Biswanath Pasayat was elected as President and Late Gangadhar Mohapatra of Puri (popularly known as Gangu Bhaina and the Law College at Puri is named after him) as the Secretary. The said Association became defunct. However the leading lawyers of the State in the helm of affairs of the Bar Council of India and Orissa State Bar Council considered it expedient to re-activate the All Orissa Lawyers’ Association as the functioning of the Bar Council was confined to powers vested to it under the Advocates Act, 1961.

But there are areas where the lawyers must act. Accordingly All Orissa Lawyers’ Association was given a re-birth in a conference held at Berhampur on 28th and 29th December, 1980. It was one of the most representative Conference of lawyers. The moving force of the conference was late Ranjit Mohanty, Bar-at-Law, the then Chairman, Bar Council of India, the leading members of Orissa State Bar Council like Sri Arijit Passayat, Sarat Chandra Mohapatra, Lingaraj Rath, Arjunlal Agrawal, former Advocate General Ashok Dash, Gangadhar Rath and other prominent lawyers OF High Court Bar Association like Bipin Bihari Ratho, C.Barman Murthy, Srinibas Mishra, Raghunath Das etc. and President and Secretary of various Bar Association of Orissa and other leading lawyers of the State.

Unanimous resolution

After due deliberation the Conference adopted unanimous resolution to have circuit Bench of Orissa High Court at Sambalpur and Berhampur which had full support of the members of Orissa State Bar Council and High Court Bar Association.

This resolution rekindled the hope of the people for justice at door step.

However, the members of Bolangir expressed resentment and did not associate with the Association.

Fissure creeps in

Although the Lawyers of the State pleaded for Circuit Bench in two places neither the Government of the day nor the High Court took any step to give effect to the wishes of the Lawyers.

The Lawyers of Sambalpur and Berhampur felt restless and resorted to agitation and strike continued for months. Even then the demands of the lawyers were ignored.

In the last week of December, 1990 the All Orissa Lawyers, Association held its annual conference at Raygada. The atmosphere was charged as lawyers of Sambalpur and Berhampur were on agitation. There was genuine feeling of the lawyers that the Judges of the High Court were primarily responsible for the inaction as holding Circuit Bench was within the prerogative of the Chief Justice and the High Court is ignoring their just demand.

Some further thought that the advocates of the High Court Bar are putting undue pressure on the Judges of the High Court.

Thus, the lawyers of the agitating Bar made undesirable remarks against the Judges and leading lawyers of the High Court Bar who were guests in the conference.

This unfortunate incident led to open opposition to the movement by the High Court Bar and even the Judges also took it personal. It was reflected in different ways. Lawyers of Jeypore were encouraged to demand for a Circuit Bench. Ultimately the whole movement was diluted when even the most insignificant Bar demanded a Circuit Bench.

The after effect of Raygada Conference is that the unity of lawyers which was achieved at Berhampur Conference was given a fatal blow, the relation between Bar and Bench was marred and All Orissa Lawyers’ Conference lost its importance as the symbol of the voice of the lawyers community of the state.

Genuine aspiration of the people will never die

The genuine aspiration of the people cannot be killed or suppressed for all times to come. In any movement there are ups and downs. Only night can give birth to a day. When the aspiration of the people was gaining momentum the members of Bargarh Bar called a meeting of the Bar Associations of Western Orissa on 30.04.2006. For the first time the members of Sambalpur and Bolangir Bar shared one platform to address the issue and took the prudent and positive steps in accepting the unanimous resolution adopted in the convention which reads as under:

This convention/assembly of lawyers is of unanimous view that the people of Western Orissa are entitled to have a permanent Bench of Orissa High Court in Western Orissa for speedy disposal of litigations. This convention notes with great concern that the people in general and Advocates in particulars have been agitating for the same but a single voice has not emerged which is suiting the purpose of persons who are against the establishment of a permanent Bench in Western Orissa in such situation this Assembly of Advocates, it is resolved that no individual Bar Association shall demand for the establishment of a bench in any particular place. All Bar Associations shall work unitedly for a bench in any place in Western Orissa. Hence it is resolved as here under :-

“This convention/assembly of Advocates of Western Orissa held on 30.04.2006 at Bargarh calls upon the Govt. of Orissa/ High Court of Orissa/ Govt of India/Supreme Court of India to establish a bench of Hon’ble High Court of Orissa in any suitable place of Western Orissa before the commencement of monsoon session of Orissa Assembly.

This Assembly further requests the Advocates in general and Bar Associations of Western Orissa in particular not to make any demand for a permanent bench of High Court in any particular place or to take up any agitation programmes in this regard.

This Assembly further resolves to achieve the creation of a bench of Orissa High Court in any place within Western Orissa and a steering committee is constituted who shall correspond with different authorities and to decide the agitation programmes to achieve the aforesaid objective.

This Assembly further resolves that the President of all the Bar Associations of Western Orissa shall be the members of the steering committee.

This Assembly further resolves that the President of District Bar Association, Bargarh shall be the Convener of the steering committee.

This Assembly further resolves to send copy of this resolution to the High Court of Orissa/Govt. of Orissa/Supreme Court of India/Govt of India/ all the Bar Associations of Western Orissa/different Print & Electronics Media.

Emergence of a movement

The resolution threw a new light and hope and had a positive impact in every spectrum of the society. All bars of Western Orissa identified with the steering Committee and espoused the cause of a Bench in any place of Western Orissa. The strength of unity was visible as common man started taking interest on this movement.

The Committee made attempt to make the movement broad based and called the peoples’ representatives in the Assembly and Parliament and all political parties to associate with the movement.

In fact the M.L.As including the cabinet Ministers and M.Ps and all political parties supported the cause, some of them attended the meetings called by steering committee.

The effect of this development was felt when the delegation of the steering Committee met the Chief Minister of Orissa.

The Chief Minister himself witnessed the M.L.As from all political parties accompanying the delegates and remarked, “You have own half of the battle”.

The Second gain was that Bolangir Bar de facto accepted the All Orissa Lawyers’ Association in its representative capacity. This became evident in the meeting of the steering Committee held at Bolangir Bar.

The President of All Orissa Lawyers’ Association was a member of the steering Committee and as such he was present in the meeting. Sri Panda, the President was not occupying a seat in the dais with a view not to antagonize the members of Bolangir Bar. But when Mr. Narasingha Mishra, the former Law Minister and leading member of Bolangir Bar noticed this, he requested the President of Bolangir Bar to escort Sri Panda to the dais. This incident is significant in many ways.

By then the All Orissa Lawyers’ Association had already accepted the establishment of the Bench in any place of Western Odisha. Thus the earlier resolution of the Association for the Bench at Sambalpur was modified to that extent. It was clear that all bars will fight united for the establishment of a Bench in any place and at appropriate time any bar can place all records or submit as regards suitability of any place is concern.

A set back

The achievement of Bargarh Convention was short lived. It could not keep all political parties together for a long time. The political parties got separated and started blaming each other for not achieving the goals. A peculiar development took place in the mean time. It was resolved in the steering Committee to oppose the seat of power till the seat of the Bench is decided.

This decision was unanimous although some members of the steering Committee were also from the ruling party.

Just after eight days the Chief Minister was to address a party meeting at Bargarh and the Party started mobilizing to bring people by bus and truck to the meeting place. At one end in furtherance to the resolution the members of the steering committee gave bandh call which led to a direct confrontation with the ruling party.

Some leading members of the steering Committee displayed loyalty to the Party, and acted contrary to the resolution of the Bar. They even did not hesitate to critise the steering committee.

This is the first major set back to the movement and it took time to reconcile to the situation. Secondly fundamentalism within the Bar also affected adversely. Some members of some Bar advocated to fight independently for the establishment of the Bench in a particular place and the local leadership failed to check them. Thus the division was visible to naked eye.

There was change in the attitude of the High Court. It is understood that request of the Chief Minister to the Chief Justice of the High Court did not receive favour and the same was turned down.

The state Govt. constituted a Commission headed by Justice C. R. Pal to dwell into the matter; but Bar has boycotted the Commission.

The Commission has failed to submit the report although more than two years have passed.

As on date, the Bar Associations of Western Odisha are not united. The Division is manifested in different ways. But the movement is continuing with symbolic strike for last three working days of each month.

This agitation can not lead to the establishment of a Bench and each Bar is aware of this.

However the positive aspect is that it is keeping the issue alive. A time has come to rethink the issue and remedial measures are to be undertaken to achieve the goal.

It will be appropriate for me to draw attention to another development. The Bargarh Convention had adopted that the President of District Bar Association, Bargarh shall be the Convenor. However subsequently, the convenorship was conferred to Sri S. B. Mishra of Bargarh Bar to be the convenor. And, as on date Sri Ashok Dash of Sundargarh is the Convener.

Disclosure by Union Law Minister

The letter of the Union Law Minister dt. 31.01.2007 addressed to Sri Prasanna Kumar Acharya the then Member of Parliament discloses that the Government of Orissa intimated in 1991 that they had decided in principle to set up Circuit Benches of the Odisha High Court at Berhampur and Sambalpur or Bolangir but the High Court had not considered it expedient to do so.

The Government of India had advised the Government of Orissa to reemphasise upon the High Court the desirability of establishing its Circuit Bench and to persuade it to do so under Clause 10 of the Orissa High Court Rules, 1948.

The Chief Minister of Orissa addressed a letter dt. 08.11.2007 to the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court which is quoted here under:

“The demand for establishment of permanent! circuit Bench in Western Orissa and Southern Orissa regions have been cropping up for quite sometime and there were also several requests to the Hon’ble High Court on this issue. So far the High Court has taken a view that establishment of either a permanent or a circuit Bench in any of the regions is not expedient.

For the last two years, the demand for establishment of Permanent Bench in Western Orissa and Southern Orissa has gathered momentum and several agitation measures have been taken by the people in Western Orissa and Southern Orissa through Public Meetings, boycotting the Courts etc.

Government have constituted the Western Orissa Development Council for the Western Orissa considering the special problems of large number of people of the area who are mostly tribals.

Similarly Southern Orissa has a large number of tribals and poor people living in remote areas which are far off from the State Capital and Cuttack, the seat of the High Court of Orissa. The main justification advanced by these people is that since the people of these regions are generally poor and the High Court is at a long distance from these areas, they cannot actually avail the opportunity of getting justice.

They are also referring to the recommendations of the Jaswant Singh Commission, which lays emphasis on the characteristic of a region as a criterion for establishment of a permanent Bench of the State High Court.

I would, therefore, request you to consider the above proposal for making available speedy justice to the poor people residing in far flung areas of these two regions at Sambalpur and Berhampur.”

The aforesaid recommendations of the Chief Minister could not persuade the Orissa High Court and did not get approval. Thereafter the Govt. of Orissa has appointed the C. R. Pal Commission. Last year the Union Law Minister Sri V. Moilley had shown positive response for establishment of the Bench in western region of Orissa.

The fact remains that the Orissa High Court and others connected thereto are yet to over come from the syndrome of Raygada Conference and as it seems the Orissa High Court is not thinking to review its earlier decision.

The High Court has exclusive say as regards Circuit Bench of the High Court is concerned. But the High Court can not put huddle for the establishment of a permanent Bench. This can be done by passing appropriate legislation as has been done in case of Ranchi Bench and Madurai Bench.

It will not be out of place to mention here that very frequently Jaswant Singh Commission is referred to. Jaswant Singh Committee is outdated and requires a revisit. Further the said Committee has recommended as under:

“In conclusion, we would like to emphasise that in weighing the claim of a region for a Bench of a High Court it is not necessary that it should satisfy all the norms detailed above. It should be enough if the totality of the conditions and circumstances obtaining in a particular region warrant, the establishment of a Bench.”

Therefore in the given situation the agitation should be aimed at adopting a resolution in the Assembly and forwarding the same to the Central Govt. for passing of appropriate resolution. Even attempt may be made to lay a private member bill in this regard to overcome obstacle.

(Sri Pujari is available at: advocatepujari@gmail.com )

Give up Hypocrisy With Respect To Surendra Sai, Give Sambalpur Its Due Importance

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government behaves hypocritically in many respects. But it should give up hypocrisy with respect to Veer Surendra Sai.

Our discussion on Surendra Sai being well read in these pages, we do not now prefer a new discussion on his life and sacrifice. But, we can certainly say that he had made the greatest and the most inspiring sacrifice for restoration of the distinct dignity of Sambalpur, the place that has the most monumental contribution to culture of Orissa.

Orissa owes its name to Uddiyan Tantra founded by the founder of Vajrayana of Buddhism, Indrabhuti, the light of Udradesh, Sambalpur.

Indrabhuti was the man who coined the name Jagannatha for Gurudev Buddha and established him as such amalgamating the tribal matriarchy with Buddhist tenets that are yet in vogue in the Jagannatha temple system.

So, it is Indrabhuti of Uddiyan Sambalpur who gave birth to Jagannath culture on which Orissa’s unique world outlook is based.

When this Jagannatha has been converted from Buddha to Vishnu and thereby into a deity controlled by the caste supremacists, it may depend on argument and counter argument to arrive at this truth that Jagannath of Puri owes his origin to Indrabhuti of present day Sambalpur. But, no argument is needed to show that Surendra Sai had made supreme sacrifice for restoration of the distinct position of Sambalpur.

I have in these pages as well as in my columns in Oriya language harped several times on transfer of a portion of the State Secretariat comprising departments having more relevance to western Orissa and high lands to Sambalpur as well as for establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court in this place without wastage of time. The people of the western region are also agitating for availability of executive and judicial government at their door step.

These essential facilities are not being available to people of Western Orissa simply because the State Government is not rising above timidness and hypocrisy.

If Surendra Sai is really to be honored, the unique contribution of Sambalpur region to Orissa should be unreservedly recognized and the offices of executive and judicial government must be established in Sambalpur.

So, politico-administrative hypocrisy should be given up with respect to Surendra Sai and he should be given due respect by establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court at and by transfer of a part of the State Secretariat comprising departments more relevant to Western Orissa to Sambalpur without wastage of time.

Western Orissa be Equipped with a High Court Bench and a Share of the Secretariat

Western Orissa is Nature’s splendid repository of precious resources. Yet, it is known as the land of poverty!

Western Orissa is Orissa’s fountainhead of culture from where Vajrayana flowed into this soil to save Buddhism in its birthplace and its founder philosopher Indrabhuti, king of Uddiyana – Sambalpur region of present day – enriched this soil so uniquely that it came to be known as Udissa, which eventually has become Orissa. Yet, it is known as a stretch of land far away from the mainstream!

Western Orissa is the original source of Sahajayana, given to mankind by the great radical queen Laxminkara of Suvarnapur, from which Orissa’s unique lifestyle of universality – the Cult of Jagannatha – has evolved. Yet, it is languishing as a stretch of land more known for deprivation than of distinction!

If universal brotherhood is a distinction of Oriyas, it owes its origin to the Mother Cult that flourished in Western Orissa. It not only gave us a great empire of queens of Bhauma dynasty that stressed on the primacy of land as source of livelihood, but also has yet retained the primordial role of Nuakhai in social solidarity. Yet, it is continuing to be a patch of soil where instances of mothers striving on baby selling are being sadly witnessed!

Western Orissa had fought against fragmentation of Orissa by the British and because of its resolute determination, the modern Orissa has got back her present shape. Yet, it is unable to come out of the stigma of starvation deaths!

All these and many more difficulties the inhabitants of Western Orissa are subjected to, are going on unabated, because post-independence political power-holders of Orissa, sitting in their citadel at Bhubaneswar – notoriously one-sided in situation – have neglected this part of the State in every respect.

Therefore, in these pages, I have several times argued that the State Secretariat should be divided and the departments, concerned more with matters relevant to Western Orissa such as Forest, Irrigation, Mines, Tribal Welfare et cetera, should be shifted to Sambalpur with the concerned Secretaries and Ministers, so that administration, instead of being remote-controlled, would come to door-steps of the most neglected people and the region could be saved from the current quagmire of negligence and resultantly resurrected into prosperity. I have also argued that a bench of the Orissa High Court should have its permanent seat at Sambalpur, so that justice-seekers left at the mercy of time at the present, as I have shown therein, could be extricated from the cruel environment of lingering litigations and their life and properties could be better protected and secured.

If the State Government is reluctant to do this, it is not for any other reason than for the high functionaries’ fear of losing the comforts of stay in the Capital at Bhubaneswar.

People of Orissa, therefore, should stand with the people of Western Orissa and ensure that decentralization of administration – both executive and judiciary – should start with the success of the people of the neglected region.

SOONER THE BENCH IN SAMBALPUR, THE BETTER


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.