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After rap on the knuckles, Odisha govt carries out HC order in one hour

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, May 16:

In what is perhaps the first instance of its kind in the state, the Urban Development department Friday held a camp office in the Odisha High Court premises here and regularized the jobs of six employees of Subarnapur Municipality and cleared payment of their arrear salaries and other dues in one hour flat.

High-Court

Director, Municipal Administration was forced to take the unprecedented decision after a warning sounded by the High Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the government for ignoring its earlier order in the case.

In his written order issued on the spot, the Municipal Administration director ordered immediate payment of arrear salaries and other dues to the six employees of Subarnapur Municipality, besides regularizing their jobs.

Adjudicating a contempt of court petition filed by Tirtha Kansari and five others on Thursday, a single-member bench of Justice Dr B R Sarangi  had ordered execution of the earlier order of the High Court within a day.

On February 24, 2014, the High Court had pronounced its verdict in favour of the petitioners in the case. Since the orders of the High Court were not carried out, the petitioner had moved the court again and filed a contempt of court petition.

Instead of carrying out High Court’s order, Sanjib Kumar Mishra, director Municipal Administration and additional secretary, Urban Development department had informed the court through an additional affidavit during the hearing on the matter on Friday that it was not possible to carry out High Court’s earlier order and the Subarnapur Municipality has been asked to file a review petition against it.

Expressing its displeasure at this obvious act of defiance in no uncertain terms, the High Court questioned why its earlier order had not been executed and warned that contempt proceedings would continue. Chastened by the warning, Mishra prayed to the court to allow him a little time.

Almost an hour later, Urban Development department from its impromptu camp office set up inside the High Court premises, issued a letter bearing no. 1/15.5.2015. The court was informed that its order dated February 24, 2014 has been carried out immediately. The letter directed the executive officer of Subarnapur Municipality to immediately regularise the jobs of the six employees and pay them their arrear wages and other dues.

Besides Mishra, former executive officer of Subarnapur Municipality Bishnupriya Mishra and incumbent executive officer Aniruddha Pradhan also appeared in person before the court.

Advocate B S Tripathy conducted the case on behalf of the petitioner.