DEMOCRACY IN DILEMMA

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

ETHICS GIVER GIVES AWAY ASSEMBLY LAPTOP VIOLATING ETHICALITY IN ENTIRITY

Senior colleague of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Dr. Ramesh Chandra Chyau Pattanayak who heads the House Committee that has framed the Code of Ethics for the Assembly members has clandestinely given away the Laptop Computer he had received from the Assembly for legislative utilization to a Canadian whom he claims to be his personal friend.

This he revealed to participants in an event of Academy of Technocrats at Berhampur on February 26, 2006 in presence of the Minister of Water Resources Mr. Rabinarayan Nanda and the Vice-Chancellor of Berhampur University Dr. J.K.Baral according to reports in a section of mainstream media. We are satisfied that after so many months of the apprehension we had expressed about the fate of these instruments, some members of the media world have reported to public that their exchequer has been misused by providing the MLAs with Laptop computers.

This site was the sole media so far to have exposed the illegality of giving Laptop Computers to MLAs. The amenities available to MLAs are spelt out in specific Laws that we had mentioned on May 09, 2005. Supply of Laptop Computers to MLAs sans any stipulation as regards status thereof during and after tenure of the member concerned is pure illegality. Whether or not any payola has any role in procurement of the laptop computers and issuance thereof to the members notwithstanding their lack of education, training or knowledge in operating the highly sophisticated gadgets was an offshoot of the payola design is a matter the ongoing commission of judicial enquiry, if considered prudent, may find out. But Patnaik’s confession has made it unambiguously clear that our solitary reading of the illegality and undesirability of supply of Laptop Computers to members of the Assembly was absolutely correct. Ultra-vires of Laws, the illicit, unsolicited and uncalled for gift to undeserving members has played havoc with the exchequer of the State. In the report under reference we had given glimpses of misutilisation of the machines by members in extra-legislative terrains. Now the clandestine disposal of the Laptop by none other than the President of the Ethics Committee of the House has exposed to what extent the fashion of making members technology suave can make a farce of legislative privileges.

If payola had played a part in procurement of Laptop Computers that part should end with promulgation of a ban on any further procurement.

The Speaker who could impose cash penalty of Rs.30,000.00 each on three members of the Congress party for damage of three amplifiers in their hands should give evidence of his sincerity by asking Sri Chyau Patnaik to refund the value of the Laptop he has gifted away to a foreigner when the same was supplied to him for use in legislative work.

To make the system work properly, and in order to stop bribing members with such types of costly gadgets with intension to build up a cover to hide misgovernance from public gaze, the Parliamentary affairs department of the State Government should immediately bring out a new Law regulating the supply, maintenance and recovery of Laptop Computers to MLAs with retrospective effect.

There should be no doubt in it that any provision of gadgets to the members, if not co-terminus with their tenure, is a bribe given for procurement of their support, express or tacit, to all the illegal, immoral and corrupt activities of the persons in power.

MLAs, irrespective of party affiliation, should seriously think of this.

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