Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Can a High Court be used as a platform for character assassination? A defendant in Orissa High Court has raised this pertinent question; the answer to which may be far-fetching.

Mrs. Asharani Misra is defendant in CRLMC N. 2144/2006 before the High Court of Orissa. Petitioners in the case are Biswarup Kar, a Franchise of M/S Career Launcher India (P) Ltd, New Delhi and its manager, personnel administration (legal), Om Punia.

The petitioners are facing prosecution in the Court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (S.D.J.M.) at Bhubaneswar under Section 506 of Indian Penal Code as Mrs. Mishra has filed a complaint there against them. According to the complaint, Kar and Punia have threatened to sue her for Rupees fifty lakhs with intent to cause alarm to her while trying to compel her not to protest against misuse of her paternal home when she is entitled to raise such protests.

The Bhubaneswar S.D.J.M. has taken cognizance of the offence as it amounts to criminal intimidation defined under section 503 of I.P.C.

Challenging the order of the S.D.J.M. taking cognizance of the case, Kar and Punia have come to the High Court. But under Para 4 of their petition before the High Court, they have further tried to intimidate Mrs. Mishra by deliberately describing her as “a rowdy lady”.

Mrs. Mishra has stoutly protested against the High Court being used by Kar and Punia as a “forum to assassinate the character of a house wife” like her by describing her as “rowdy”.

She has told the Court that as a daughter of late Premananda Mishra she has a share in the properties standing in his name and she is party to a civil suit pending before the District Judge of Bhubaneswar over the said properties and therefore, she has every right to take steps against misuse of the involve properties behind her back.

Kar and Punia have subjected her to criminal intimidation by threatening her to sue her for 50 lakhs of rupees if she does not desist from protesting against misuse of the said property.

And, she has shown the Court how the duo has dared to desecrate the highest Court of Judicature in the State by tying to use it as a platform for character assassination.

So now, before the Court the question is: have litigants the right to use filthy and obnoxious words against opposite parties by using the court as a platform?

And the decision of Orissa High Court in this matter will be the trend setting decision.

When Mr. D.C.Mohanty, an Advocate from Bhubaneswar bar is representing Mrs. Mishra, Mr. B.Das Mohapatra & Associates, Kar and Punia.

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