(Photos from Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak)
Advocates from the four Ex-States – Athgarh, Tigiria, Baramba and Narsingpur (ATBN) – belonging to Athgarh Sub-Division in the District of Cuttack, celebrated today the 17th foundation day of ATBN Advocates’ Association in the NALCO guest house auditorium at Bhubaneswar with F.B.Rath, its President, in chair.
Advocates: Lalit Kumar Biswal, President of Narasingpur Bar Association, Surjyanarayana Mishra, President of Baramba Bar Association, Bikram Keshari Das, President of Tigiria Bar Association and Adwaita Charan Panda, senior advocate representing Athgarh Bar Association in absence of the President thereof gave views of their respective Bar Associations, when Sadayalaxmi Pattanayak, a Tigirian practicing in Orissa High Court, Jambeswara Das of Kandarpur, Athgarh, who heads the Cuttack Civil Bar Association and Banoj Kumar Pattanayak of Baramba, a High Court practitioner as well as Member of Orissa State Bar Council also addressed the conference.
The senior-most lawyer of Athgarh sub-division – Dhanurdhara Raut – was felicitated on this occasion. In his reply to the felicitation, he gave hint to now extinct Athgarh District created after independence.He recalled how Subhas Chandra Pattanayak of Tigiria, Pratap Chandra Pattanayak of Baramba and he together had initiated steps for its revival and urged upon the members of the Association to take up the issue.
Hemanta Kumar Das, eminent financial administrator and former member of Orissa Public Service Commission, addressing as Chief Guest, observed that in post independence India positive economic development has reduced poverty, but feeling of poverty generated generally by consumerism and specifically by neighbors’ envy has spread. This contradiction has been contributing to rising unrest in the country.
He eventually came to the current mass movement against corruption as led by Anna Hazare and even as he opined that Anna deserves support for his voice against corruption, the obstinacy he displays in the matter of constitution and scope of Jan Lokpal is counter productive inasmuch as no Prime Minister can function if every now and then he is to be dragged to a Lokpal. He emphasized on thus-far-and-no-more norm in agitations against administration, if a responsible democracy is to be built up and retained. He called upon the lawyers not to forget commitment to country in prosecuting and defending the under-trial persons in pursuit of financial gain and fame.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak of orissamatters.com, who was the chief speaker, stressed on legal steps to revive the lost district of Narasingpur that was one of the eight districts created with Princely States after they merged with Orissa giving the State its present form. He gave vivid details of how the district was created and lost because of lust for power of a person, who taking advantage of being a minister in the interim government despite pre-merger public rejection at Athgarh and being influential because of grip on the highest circulated daily of the day published from Cuttack town, had caused obliteration of the Narasinghpur district by using the Government to reduced it to a subdivision under the district of Cuttack, so that, from his residence he can pull the strings through the Collector of Cuttack. It is time to revive the district as the people thereof have been drastically discriminated against when the rest of the seven districts created with the merged ex-states are in existence and are getting profuse amount of district development funds whereas annexed to a highly developed district like Cuttack, the most undeveloped four ex-states have been perishing due to lack of due development funding, he pointed out.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Association had paid silent standing respects to the mother of Sri Pattanayak, passed away on 16 December, along with obituary respects paid to member advocates living no more since its previous meeting.
In expressing deep gratitude for the kind gesture, Pattanayak described, how she had to endure unbearable terminal illness for several months with no hope of survival on the strength of medical science. He then urged upon the legal community to cogitate as to why should there not develop legal provisions , even through case-laws, to ensure final journey into peace with dignity for terminally ill, incurable and entirely atrophied old citizens instead of subjecting them to tormenting and barren treatments, squeezed ultimately into paranteral feed and bottled oxygen.
Emphasizing on evolution of humane face of law and elimination of judicial blunders that encourage wrongful prosecution, he cited the case of Mili Panda, who, despite quashing of cognizance against her in a lower court by Orissa High Court, is perishing in prisons under various pretexts. Hatred generated towards activism against exploitation is helping hijackers of public exchequer in accumulating massive wealth when maximum majority of Indians are being forced to thrive on distress sale of anything they have, including agro-products and offspring. The legal community, therefore, should consciously work for protection of pro-people elements from the dragnet of law misused in the guise of maintenance of law and order, he said.
He found similarity between the current anti-corruption drive by Anna Hazare and the one of 1977 led by J.P.Narain and observed that this drive would lead to no remedy exactly as the movement steered by JP had failed, because there is no agenda in it to change the country’s political economy from pro-rich to pro-society, from capitalism to socialsm. If right to equality is what is to be ensured by Law, then lawyers must act against political economy of inequality, he underlined.
Dev Narayan Pattanayak, Secretary of the Association proposed vote of thanks and the participants were given a lively musical treat.