Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jagannathprasad, Jul 3:
Ever heard of a Kangaroo court delivering its verdict to the aggrieved parties in Odisha on the lines of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana? At least, reports suggest so.
The court had assembled here on Tuesday last at Maa Kandhuni Devi temple in the village which has been reportedly captured by the local mediapersons.
The setting at Routi village under Jagannathprasad block in Odisha’s Ganjam district is no different from other Khap Panchayats elsewhere in the country where the village patriarchs’ adjudicate over the cases and dispose it instantly.
In this Odisha village, the members, mostly the influential few of the community, of the Khap Panchayat officiate over the village disputes. The victim and the accused are called to the separate docks and their grievances are heard. The head of the community, who is authorised to deliver the verdict, decides upon the quantum of punishment depending on the nature and severity of the crime.
The punishment handed over to the guilty are– financial penalty, corporal and even ostracised. For minor crimes, the court directs the wrong-doer to tender public apology before being let off.
Prior to this, notices are served to the accused upon receipt of complaints and are summoned to appear before the Khap Panchayat on a scheduled date. Their statements are recorded before pronouncing the judgement.
The Kangaroo court is being held since long in the name of public good or social reforms. However, the villagers are being threatened of being ostracised from the community if they dare to approach police. Fearing social boycott, the villagers are forced to remain tight-lipped.