Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 18:
Former PCC President Niranjan Patnaik today demanded reversal of the Odisha Government’s decision to abolish the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) calling the move ‘undemocratic’.
“The OAT has rendered yeoman’s service in addressing the grievances of government employees since it was established by the Congress Government in 1986. The State Government should have consulted all stakeholders and allowed public debate before taking such a major decision,” said Patnaik.
The former minister cited that the OAT listens to the grievances of employees of the state Government, which include many low paid employees, pensioners and families of ex-employees in distress. He alleged that the abolition decision was taken under influence by senior central government employees, who themselves bat for the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
“Would the senior officers from the IAS and IPS want abolition of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)? It is an act of gross abuse of power by a section of senior civil servants, who have persuaded the Government to abolish the OAT that was making these civil servants accountable. The objective of the abolition is undemocratic and objectionable and the secretive manner of taking such a decision is an indication of an autocratic mindset,” he added.
Citing examples from other states, Patnaik pointed out that Kerala and Himachal Pradesh had to reintroduce SAT even though they had abolished it earlier. Besides, he suggested that the State Government should have consulted the High Court and the legal fraternity before taking the decision.
“Naveen Babu and his civil servants will be happy to abolish the High Court and lower courts, if they can. They do not like anyone asking questions. Odisha is going through unprecedented times. Thousands of schools are closed. Hospitals are in a shambles. Now lawyers are on strike. The BJD government has become completely insensitive to public demands and is citing electoral mandate as justification for arbitrary decisions,” he alleged.