Vikash Sharma

Justice Raghubir Dash has resigned as member of the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC). The development comes days after the Odisha government appointed Justice Satrughana Pujahari as OHRC Chairman.

In his resignation letter addressed to the Odisha Governor, Justice Raghubir Dash wrote, "The newly appointed chairperson of OHRC is definitely a right person who has the ability to raise the reputation of the institution to the next level by his tireless efforts to protect the interests of the victims of Human Rights violations."

Dash further wrote, "However, my conscience as well as sense of self-respect dissuades me continuing to hold the office of a member of the OHRC under the chairperson designate who, as a judge of High Court of Orissa, was junior to me."

It is pertinent to mention here that the state government had recently appointed Justice Satrughana Pujahari, a former Judge of Orissa High Court, as the new OHRC Chairman. Apart from this, the government had reappointed advocate Asim Amitabh Dash as its member.

Justice Ratnakar Dash (Retd.) said, "The government taking such a step was not appropriate. It (Odisha government) should have asked whether the person being roped in for the post is junior or senior to him (Raghubir Dash). It will definitely hurt one's self-respect and one will feel suffocated. Though it's his personal decision, I would have made the same decision."

On the other hand, the BJP alleged misgovernance in the State while the Congress alleged lawlessness in Odisha under the BJD rule. "When a senior Judge is already a member, appointing a junior is unfortunate. He (Dash) has made the right decision," said BJP leader Sudarsan Nayak.

"Under this government, there is no rule. A junior is getting appointed without any respect to norms may it be at IPS, IAS or Ministerial level. No one has self-respect during the current BJD's rule," alleged Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja.

Responding to the allegations, BJD MLA Parsuram Dhada said that the government has made the appointment only after going through several parameters. "About the resignation of Raghubir, it's his personal decision and I don't want to comment on it," said Dhada.

(Reported by Gautam Panda)