The Supreme Court has granted interim protection from arrest to Odisha’s Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Jaynarayan Mishra in a case of allegedly assaulting a woman police officer after accusing her of taking bribe.
A bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra issued notice to the Odisha government and sought its response within four weeks.
“Issue notice, returnable in four weeks. In the meantime, the petitioner is protected from arrest in connection with the above case,” the bench said.
The counsel appearing for Mishra submitted that in the course of the last nearly one year, the petitioner who is an MLA and also the Leader of the Opposition in the Odisha Legislative Assembly is performing his usual duties and the police never had any occasion to summon him in connection with the incident on February 15 last year.
He stated that the Orissa High Court should have favourably considered the petitioner for pre-arrest bail since custodial interrogation may not be necessary, considering the nature of the allegations made against the petitioner and the videography evidence stated to be available.
The top court was hearing an appeal filed by Mishra gainst the November 23, 2023 order of the Orissa High Court which had dismissed his plea seeking anticipatory bail in the matter.
The MLA from Sambalpur had dismissed the charge and claimed that the Dhanupali Police Station Inspector in-charge, Anita Pradhan, had pushed him.
Both lodged police complaints in connection with the incident, which occurred during the BJP’s protest outside the district collector’s office in Sambalpur, as part of the state-wide stir on the “worsening law and order situation”.
According to Pradhan, as BJP workers were trying to barge into the premises, she came face-to-face with Mishra, who asked who she was.
“When I identified myself, he accused me of taking bribe and called me a dacoit. When I asked why he was levelling such allegations, he pushed me,” the woman officer had alleged.
Mishra, however, had dismissed the charge, saying he went to the forefront upon hearing that the police were “torturing” women workers.