By Biswaraj Patnaik in Puri, August 12, 2017: A Court here has convicted self-proclaimed Right to Information (RTI) activist, Jayant Jumar Das for posting obscene pictures of his friend’s wife on the Facebook.

Incidentally, frontline RTI workers had declared Das as an outcast in their community, for being rabidly obsessed with making mad allegations against a number of state functionaries including an incomparably spotless judge of the Odisha High Court. The activist had seemingly revelled over some media coverage based on cooked up documents with silly charges without any factual foundation.

The former self-styled social worker had alleged that Justice Indrajit Mahanty had wrongfully remained engaged in business with a working capital loan from the State Bank of India. A few media houses with carried the nonsense-loaded story to sell better. Not one agency went deeper than the skin to dig out the truth.

Pained by the false allegations, some senior journalists, columnists and researching statesmen went the extra mile to come up with the truth and projected in good light the honest judge who is known for his unfathomable jurisprudence, grand discretion and phenomenal commonsense, apart from the command over the English language and enviable skills in oratory.

Despite all this to his credit, not once did he utter a single word of hate against the insane tormentor. Smiling ruefully, had he said once to sensible columnist friends, “Guy doesn’t know how sinful he is getting with a mad obsession of remaining in public glare. I only pity him. God give him sense!”

Justice Indrajit Mahanty

That virtually sums up Indrajit Mahanty, the big-hearted human being who may occupy the CJI’s chair in future. He has both the advantages- of age and a zero-error performance graph, unless of course mad detractors show up yet again and make trouble to be demolished only by God.

Even after punishment was awarded to the tormentor-activist, Justice Mahanty remained cool and composed. “The ignorant person never once looked into the truth,” he quipped, “he could have done a great job by exposing the reality. If I were ethically blemished, the society would have punished me first.”

What the minority media did not make clear was the fact that the property is a personal one owned by him. A hotel comes up to generate revenue by giving employment to many. The structure keeps requiring upkeeping, repair, renovation and expansion for which block capital loans would be required from time to time and repaid on schedule.

After becoming judge, his daughter who was the key controller of the business, passes on the operation rights to professionals on long term lease as per the legal norms. The operations of business change hands, but the immovable property or the structure on it cannot alienate the lawful owner anyway, be he a cut-throat money-mad trader or a detached, dispassionate judge of the highest court.

Delinking a person from ownership cannot happen and there is nothing blasphemous about it. If only he had availed a working capital loan with a cash credit limit in his own favour, he could have been nabbed as an offender of law, rule or norm. Simply put it’s like a sitting judge putting his age-old house on rent.Countless judicial functionaries live in and enjoy such a situation. The sensation seeking media had never looked beyond the curtain.

Jayant Kumar Das

Besides, the mad tormentor had produced self-modified or morphed documents to confuse the media people. Most unfortunately, this simplest of facts was not ever scanned or assessed by the negligible number of media houses which jumped to craziest conclusions and carried crazy stories.

Justice Mahanty has never availed any business operation loan on record. Developing his own property with any institutional loan is his birth right in a civilised society. He did not steal money or extorted any from anyone trapped in legal nets and seeking relief in the judicial domain where he has the power to use his personal discretion to decide what’s right and what wrong. Corrupt, extortionate judges, the number of which is rising by the day, do make money by selling judgment because superior judges are not accountable for any kind of judicial conduct. The affected parties can go on appeal to higher forums.

The people now say, “The mad man fell into the trap set by himself. Lies, falsehood and the megalomaniac obsession to remain in public glare caused his doom. He behaved insensibly. True activists are invariably sensible. Once they discover the path taken is wrong, they make course corrections instantly. This person remained stubborn on the wrong foot only to suffer in good time.”

Justice Mahanty has remained stoically silent all this time. He has not lost his composure nor cool, as insiders report. He does not revel over a poor fellow’s defeat. He is monumentally magnanimous.

Justice Dipak Mishra

Not surprisingly, the same poor guy had gone after the would-be Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the third Odia to bring the glory. The convict activist had maligned him by hurling charges which hold no substance or steam. The sole objective was to ensure Justice Misra is defamed and dismissed from the highest temple of judiciary before his coronation.

There is quite some murmur amid the legal community of Odisha about a gang of envious colleagues, former and serving, feeding fools with falsehood only to derive sadistic pleasure. But Justice Mahanty trashes the whole theory with a loud laugh, “Oh God, no! My colleagues, past and present, are fairly
big-hearted and extremely helpful. Most of them are angels. But if the wild rumour is even remotely true, I would only pray to God to give them sense. Because they will suffer more as one day or the other, someone will expose them. I wish I knew them so as to be able to put them back on the ‘love, respect and trust track’. Our solidarity is the best shield against common danger. Disharmony and rivalry earns only infamy for all of us.”

A number of social activists who made comments did say that there are retired and serving High Court judges who have shamelessly availed land with false affidavits from the executive, which is by itself a colossal ‘conflict of interest’ issue which,if ever resolved, could land greedy judges in big trouble.

The so called activists are only chasing a few unruly, populist, ignorant politicians who are incorrigible and not expected to protect the spirit and letter of the Constitution. But judges who have cheated the state should never be forgiven, which would mean the country has gone to dogs.