HC issues notice to state, Centre on IMA-ISI merger

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has issued notices to the state and the Centre seeking their response to a PIL opposing the merger of the prestigious Institute of Mathematics and Applications with Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute.

Adjudicating over the PIL filed by a Bhubaneswar-based advocate, a division bench comprising Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice Pradeep K Mohanty yesterday issued notices to the respondents asking them to file their counters in two weeks.

The respondents include Odisha Chief Secretary, secretaries of Department of Science and Technology of both the state government and the Government of India and heads of IMA and ISI.

Advocate K P Behera of Bhubaneswar had filed the PIL seeking to quash a state government notification made last November proposing the merger both the institutes.

The PIL stated that IMA is a prestigious institute of the state government functioning with its own massive infrastructure over a land of 22 acres in the Andharua area of Bhubaneswar.

"If the ISI proposes to have its branch office in Bhubaneswar, then it can do so by setting up its own infrastructure," the PIL said.

The government hoped that after the merger research on mathematical and statistical studies would be enriched, but the petitioner argued that the institute would only lose its identity with it was merged.

The proposal to merge the institutes was mooted by the ISI Director in October last year and the state government accepted it and issued a notification to this effect in November.

Subsequently, the governing body of the IMA endorsed the proposal in January, this year, sources said.