WHAT A GOVT.! COURT IMPOSES CASH PENALTY ON DIRECTOR AND SECRETARY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government under Navin Patnaik has become so much a den of vices that the Orissa High Court had to punish the Secretary as well as the Director of Higher Education with cash penalty to the tune of Rs, 10 thousand each with a month long imprisonment in default.

Even as the Secretary Madhusudan Padhi is an IAS officer, the Director Dr. Suman Mohapatra is a college teacher. Both of them are punished individually by name.

Individually and collectively both are guilty of willful contempt show to the just Orders of the Court in their over-indulgence in harassing a laboratory attendant of a private college.

The affected employee, Debendranath Barik, working in J.N.College of Kuanpal since May 25,1993, was victimized in pay fixation and the discrimination continuing, had preferred a petition before the Education Tribunal.

After prolonged hearing, the ET had ordered on July 3, 2006 that the authorities must pay him his dues as determined along with the amount of full grant-in-aid with retrospective effect from May 24, 2002.

The Supreme Court of India has unambiguously observed that the state should behave as an ideal employer and should rectify its wrong steps when a court of law points that out. It has in many cases strongly disapproved the wont of state administration to prefer appeals in higher forums against employment related judgments.

But instead of behaving as a responsible employer, Orissa Government under Navin Patnaik has become a habitual litigant that has surpassed all records of dragging employees into litigations. When an employee gets a verdict in his or her favor in a lower court or tribunal the mandarins in the Secretariat and in offices of various Heads of Departments immediately go for appeal in the higher courts against such orders. Every department has law officers and / or legal sections. Every litigation brings a bonanza for the law officers and the staff in the legal section. Beginning from the contact with the lawyer to fixation of fees and bagging adjournments after adjournments, every stage brings warmth to pockets of these fellows over and above the Travel Allowance and Daily Allowance they draw from the state treasuries on account of attending the Courts. It is a great scam patronized, not for no reason, by the HoD / Secretary of the department concerned.

Gaining from other’s disadvantage has become so habitual in Navin’s Government that in the instant case the High Court was shocked to see how with blazing audacity its own order for release of the decreed amount to the poor low-paid employee was sloughed over by the Secretary and Director of Higher education.

Taking the disrespect shown to its Order dated September 9, 2008 as contempt, proceeding against both of them was initiated and orders were issued for them to place their respective versions in person before the Court on January 27.

But honor for Law Courts has so declined that these tow top officers did not care and the contempt case closed that day for Orders to be delivered.

The High Court delivered its Order on January 30.

If the two Officers above named fail to deposit the cash penalty within 7 days, they will be sent to the Jail for a month.

These two officers are to pay the cash penalty from their personal pockets, because they are found personally guilty. But, as looting the exchequer in the guise of litigation management has become a habit of administration, there is every possibility of the treasury being used for paying this money.

It would be better for the Chief Minister to monitor the matter and to ensure that the State exchequer is not looted for depositing the cash penalty on behalf of the two offenders.

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