The late Bhabani Shankar Mishra was a bright star in the sky of Odisha’s legal fraternity and judiciary. He had a long, outstanding legal career where he has handled many significant cases. Though his path to success was not rosy, and he had to constantly face hurdles in each phase of his life, however, he always fought like a true warrior and emerged as a winner. He is a hero and the centre of inspiration for many young lawyers who draw motivation from his journey.
Bhabani Shankar Mishra was a self-made man. He created his path despite all the obstacles that life threw in front of him. He had lost his father at the tender age of 9. His father was survived by his mother, Sarat Devi and two sisters Damayanti and Shakuntala. Though lots of responsibilities were laden on his young shoulders, he didn’t give up. He was determined to succeed. Even though he had to take care of his entire family, he didn’t deviate from his studies, and kept himself firm in his academics. He always believed that it was only education which could help him achieve his dreams.
He passed his matriculation examination from Nursingh Pur High school as a hostel boarder. Thereafter, he came to Cuttack as a Gram Sevak and along with that, he continued his higher studies. He then completed his graduation from Utkal University and joined as Additional Block Development Officer in the district of Sambalpur. But he was not happy with that. An achiever who has bigger dreams and a sky full of sparkling stars to conquer never settles down. He left his job and continued to study further at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay. After one year, he returned to Cuttack as per the advice of his Uncle, Dr Sriram Chandra Dash and started his legal studies. Finally, he got his LLB degree from Madhusudan Law University in the year 1965.
He started his advocacy under the guidance of Surjya Narayan Mishra, Advocate at Raosapatna, Cuttack. But he was more interested in learning the dynamics of criminal law. He then joined the office of Late Mr Bhikari Charana Panda and continued his journey as a Junior Lawyer. Soon after, he became an independent advocate and started his own practice. This was the start of the legendary journey of Late Bhabani Shankar Mishra that we witness today with reverence.
He was selected twice as Magistrate, but his enthusiasm and determination for advocacy for litigation compelled him to refuse the post. During the tenure of Biju Patnaik as the Chief Minister of Odisha, he was offered the post of Additional PP of vigilance. However, he had again refused to accept it and continued his practice till his last breath.
Late Bhabani Shankar Mishra was a man who neither believed in occupying any post nor the power and the fame associated with it. All that he ever believed in was his service to the judiciary, which he continued till his last breath. For him, Work was Worship. This is evident from the fact that he attended court every day without fail until the age of 81.
In his long remarkable legal career, this stalwart has handled many critical cases. In the sensational Murder Case of Indupur where Doctor Nilambar Rath and his servant were accused of murdering the PHC nurse, he had defended the accused and they were released on trials. He had fought the sensational Murder case of Champadeipur Nursingpur where Santosh Rath was accused of murdering his wife. Late Bhabani Shankar Mishra defended the accused in the Court of Session judge of Cuttack and the accused was acquitted after trial. He had also worked in the sensational murder case of Advocate Seli Patnaik of RaousaPatna, Cuttack and the infamous rape case of Anjana Mishra.
Other than many historic legal battles that he had fought in his life span, he had also proved to be an eminent leader. He continued to be the Secretary of Kalia Dalan Puja Committee of Pithapur for 20 long years which is a record till date. He was also the elected President of the Criminal Courts Bar Association in the year 2008- 2010. Recently he was also elected as the chairman of the Interim Committee by the State Bar Council.
No matter how much of a Legal Stalwart he was, when he would be at home, he was a family man who loved his family a lot. His Son Manoranjan Mishra was always very dear to him, and he has always guided and mentored him to help him shape his life as a successor of his legal profession. As a grandfather, he loved his granddaughters Ankita Mishra and Amrita Mishra and instilled the core values of compassion, love and kindness in them. He always asked them to face the world without fear and stand out for themselves in a male-dominated world.
Late Bhabani Shankar Mishra has led a remarkable life and has left behind a legacy. He was a Legal Pioneer who had mentored and inspired hundreds of young minds who wanted to make it big. He had many mentored many of his juniors, namely Srikanta Nanda, Pravakar Mishra, etc. and helped them pave their journeys from junior advocates to Magistrate and later, District Judge. He has been felicitated with numerous awards for his legal prowess, leadership and his contribution to the society.
His name will indeed reverberate for time immemorial as a legendary personality in the legal and judicial system of Odisha.