New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) has directed the Odisha government not to defend in court a state minister who had allegedly made casteist remarks, while the minister concerned threatened to file a defamation case against the NCSC chief.
NCSC Chairman P L Punia has pulled up the Odisha government over the alleged casteist remarks of Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout and directed it to ask the advocate general against defending the accused in court and instead help the prosecution.
"(While probing the case) We also told the state Chief Secretary (B K Patnaik) and DGP (Prakash Mishra) to inform the high court that state minister Damodar Rout is a habitual offender," Punia told PTI in New Delhi.
When he was agriculture minister, Rout at a public meeting near Kujang in Jagatsinghpur district in May 2010 allegedly made casteist remarks against Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, Jagatsingpur MLA Bishnu Charan Das and a government official.
Following the controversy, the state government filed a charge sheet against the minister but he got a stay on the charge sheet from the high court, Punia said.
Rout was allegedly involved again in a similar controversy recently and "We have asked them to request the high court to take a view on his repeated remarks against SCs," the NCSC chief said.
The Commission has been following up the case for the past one year.
In his reaction, Rout threatened to drag Punia to court as the matter was now sub-judice.
"The matter is sub-judice now in the Orissa High Court. I don`t think Punia is above the High Court. He should be careful while passing remark against me. I will drag him to court in a defamation case," the minister said.