HC directs Agri Min to seek bail from lower court

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha High Court on Monday directed state Agriculture Minister Dr Damodar Rout to appear before lower court in order to secure bail in a casteist remark case.

While hearing the anticipatory bail plea, Justice S C Parija directed Rout to appear before Jagatsinghpur SDJM in four weeks time to get bail. The lower court might set conditions while granting bail, the judge said.

Fearing arrest, the minister had moved the upper court for anticipatory bail. 

During the court proceedings, the defence lawyer contested that the police case registered against Rout is politically motivated. On the other hand, the public prosecutor claimed that the case registered against Rout is non-bailable.

It may be recalled that Rout was entangled in casteist row after allegedly making objectionable remarks against local MP, MLA, and ADM. The minister while addressing a public meeting at Kujang on August 18 last year had referred them as ‘Harijans’.

Following the incident, District SC&ST welfare association had registered FIR against the minister.

The complaint was registered against Rout at Kujang police station on charge of violating rules under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Attrocities) Act, 1989.