Naveen’s Ministers: Two Resigned over Hooch, Another Booked for Crime against Democracy

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Naveen Patnaik has a Ministry that includes many such persons who belong to the category of accused under trial.

But he has a Minister who is found to have committed crime against Democracy.

The name of this Minister is Pradipta Kumar Nayak who belongs to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He represents Bhawanipatna Constituency in the Assembly and holds the Labor portfolio.

The Sub-Collector of Bhawanipatna, who is also the Returning Officer of this Constituency has filed a criminal case before the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate there on April 26, 2006 against Nayak alleging that while filing nomination papers for the Assembly elections, he had sworn in an affidavit suppressing facts of his involvement in criminal cases. The R.O. has filed the case in accordance with instructions from the Election Commission and is registered as 2( C ) C 9/06.

Nayak’s offense is strong enough to attract rigorous imprisonment for three years with or without fine. It would be very embarrassing for Naveen to retain him in the Cabinet in view of the crime he has committed against the democracy.

In India, it is now mandatory that a candidate for election to Assembly or Parliament has to file an Affidavit indicating details of criminal cases pending against him along with his nomination papers. Nayak showed in his Affidavit that there was no criminal case pending against him, on the basis of which his nomination papers were accepted and he was able to contest. But he was involved in as many as four criminal cases and evading summons. Those cases were numbered as G.R Case No. 239 of 1995, G.R.Case No.521 of 1996, G.R.Case No. 231 of 1997 and G.R.Case no.407 of 1998. It indicates how habitual an offender was Nayak by the time he filed his nomination papers for the current Assembly. In order to get his nomination papers clear and to hoodwink the voters through misinformation, he suppressed the vital fact and declared under oath that there was no criminal case against him pending in any court.

Section 181 of Indian Penal Code stipulates that such an offense shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

More than the criminal punishment it attracts, the falsity resorted to by Nayak in his Affidavit is an offense against democracy. Democracy depends upon election to the House of Representatives elected by the citizens. For elections, nomination papers constitute the basis. The Affidavit on criminal antecedents is must component of nomination papers. Without this Affidavit, no Returning Officer can accept candidature of any aspirant to the Assembly or Parliament. So the Affidavit on criminal antecedents is inseparably linked to the process of election. In other words, this particular Affidavit constitutes the core of democratic process. Therefore, any wrong willfully committed in the Affidavit is an offense unambiguously perpetrated against democracy.

Nayak has perpetrated this crime against democracy. To retain him in the Ministry would tantamount to entertain a continuing crime against the Country. Naveen must take note of it.

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