Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Apr 6:
Election is certainly doing strange things to our babus. Long used to sitting on things for ages, Odisha government officials are suddenly under pressure to act – and act fast. In their anxiety to be seen to be acting, though, they are ending up doing things that leave both the citizenry and themselves red-faced.
Take the case of Banambar Mallick, for example. Family members of Mallick recently received a notice under Sec 107 asking Mallcik to appear before the executive magistrate and give an undertaking that he would not cause breach of law and order in his locality during the polls.
There was nothing surprising about the notice since such notices are routine during the election process. There was just one hitch though. Mallick had died in a road accident two full years ago! The dead man must be turning in his grave.
Notice to dead men, however, is not the only kind of embarrassment officials are causing themselves. They have served 107 notices also to living men are well past the age at which they can cause of breach of public order.
Eighty-year old Nrusingha Charan Panda, got the shock of his life when he received the dreaded notice. “They have made a mockery of the law. I am in the twilight of my life and can’t even go out of home. And yet, they have branded me as trouble-maker,” says the disgusted retired government school teacher.
The list if people who have received notices under Sec 107 make for interesting reading as it includes both the sitting and the former chairman Kendrapara urban local body, 10 councillors of the municipality and a number of lawyers!
Taking serious exception to the notice served on him, Kendrapara municipality chairman Dhirendra Kumar Sahu said; “The very thought that I could be trouble-maker during the election is utterly ridiculous. There is nothing in my record to even remotely suggest that I could disrupt the polls.”
A fuming Dhruba Charan Jena, president of the Kendrapara district bar association, says the association has drawn the attention of the district election office in this regard and sought immediate corrective measures.
Admitting that such gross anomalies have indeed taken place, Kendrapara SP Rabi Narayan Behera said efforts to correct such mistakes were already underway.
Notice under Section 107 is a preventive measure for maintenance of law and order during elections.