Classical Oriya // War over Award: A point that the High Court missed to note

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Presidential Award of Certificate of Honour in Classical Oriya for 2019 to Pt. Antrajyami Mishra has bagged a judicial approval in course of a Writ Case lodged by rival Natabar Satpathy.

Satpathy belongs to an organisation of a language mafia that has been exposed in a documented work to have stolen away the Official thesis prepared by Odia Bhasha Pratisthan, Govt. of Orissa in support of its claim on national recognition of classical character of Oriya Language. His case was registered as W.P.(C) No. 8757 of 2020 in the High Court of Orissa.

In rejecting the petition, the Court has held, “ there is no illegality in the procedure adopted for selecting Opposite Party No.4(Pt. MIshra) for the award in question. As already explained, it was a two-stage process. In the first stage a pre-scrutiny Screening Committee recommended names, which was then placed before the Selection Committee. Thereafter this was approved by the Union HRD Minister, the Prime Minister and then the President of India.”

The Court has deeply studied all the points of objection raised by Satpathy against selection of Pt. Mishra for the coveted award and decided that, “no ground has been made out to persuade the Court to grant the reliefs prayed for.”

The judgment was delivered on the 19th January,2021 by the Bench comprising Dr. S. Muralidhar, Chief Justice and Justice Mr. S.K. Mishra. A review petition thereon has also been rejected.

But on perusal of the Judgment one finds that Pt. Mishra has no participation in the battle, even though he was the person against whose selection the litigation had been registered. It is great that, in his absence, he has been given justice.

“Why have you not opposed the petition?” I asked Pt. Mishra. “I was not informed of the case.” he said.

Had Satpathy played tricks to keep Mishra in dark about the case, so that in his absence, the petition may not get any real opposition? If so, this is serious.

Because of the great judicial conscience of the Court, the verdict has gone in Mishra’s favour. Suppose, that wouldn’t have happened, shouldn’t Mishra have suffered a brutal hit from behind, having not opposed the petition? Would it be wrong to assume that the notice to the one, whose selection was challenged (Pt. Mishra), was suppressed in order to put him away from defending his interest? If so, it is a foul play on the system of justice.

The verdict is silent on this aspect. I wish, the Court should have taken note of this.

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