HC jolt to Orissa govt on Cuttack bank rejig

Cuttack: Days after Orissa government appointed some BJD leaders as heads of state-run cooperative, the Orissa High Court today restrained a state nominated body from taking charge of Cuttack Urban Bank.

Instead, the High Court in its interim order made it clear that the previous elected body would continue to function as usual under the head of cooperative registrar until further orders.

By a notification on September 24, state government had nominated councils for several cooperative bodies. The same notification had also replaced the elected council of Cuttack Urban Bank with a nominated council that was to be headed by a BJD leader who had lost in last year`s election to the post of the president of the bank.

Two members of the bank council had challenged the government`s action of dismissing an elected body in the high court which in turn on Monday had stayed the operation of the notification of the state government.

When the matter came up for hearing today, the division bench of justices B P Das and S K Mishra came down heavily on the government move as the state counsel failed to show reasons as to why an elected body was made defunct by virtue of amending an act.

"Today the high court found that malafide exercise was made by Registrar (Cooperative Bodies) and therefore the nominated body was restrained and the elected body was allowed to function," Pitambar Acharya, the counsel for one of the petitioners, said.

Birendra Pratap Swain, the elected president of the bank who is the brother of former Athgarh MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain, alleged that the Act was amended only to target him.

Welcoming the high court order, Swain said he was always with the people and shall continue to work for the betterment of the bank.

It may be mentioned here that Swain was elected president of the bank last year, defeating the official BJD candidate Sarat Pradhan.