Orissa High Court dismisses criminal case against IAS official

The criminal case against T Wapang Ao, an IAS officer from the Odisha cadre, was thrown out by the Orissa High Court. Ao was accused of making disparaging statements about a lawyer while serving as a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in Malkangiri 20 years ago.

In response to a lawyer’s complaint, the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) court in Malkangiri has acknowledged receipt of the section 500/506 IPC accusation against Wapang. Wapang’s request to be absolved of the offenses was later denied by the SDJM on August 16, 2023. After then, he had filed a high court challenge.

A copy of the order issued by Justice SK Panigrahi’s single judge bench on Monday stated, “In my opinion, the complaint filed under Sections 500 and 506 of the IPC lacks basic ingredients and no useful purpose would be served by permitting the trial court to proceed with the complaint.”

Additionally, I would want to convey how deeply concerned I am about the drawn-out legal battle over what can only be called a pointless matter. Judge Panigrahi said, “It is depressing to see legal processes drag on for more than 20 years, using up important time, funds, and judicial bandwidth.

On August 5, 2003, Gobinda Patra, a local bar advocate, went before the SDM, Malkangiri, to present his case. This is when the alleged event took place. The SDM asked for the second party to provide evidence during the hearings.

However, Patra objected, claiming that this kind of request went against established procedures. The SDM reportedly shouted, “Shut up, Tu Jaa re, Tu Kia Mote Procedure Sikhayibu!” in response to this objection. (Stop talking, go now; you can’t show me how to do this). The complaint had then been lodged by Patra.

According to Justice Panigrahi, the aforementioned comment doesn’t necessarily have the potential to damage the complainant’s or lawyer’s image on its own.

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