Pradeep Pattanayak

Hearing the petition filed by the Orissa High Court regarding the lawyers’ protest demanding a bench of the HC, the Supreme Court of India on Monday asked the agitating lawyers to get back to work or else their license will be suspended from the Bar Council of India. 

The lawyers have been striking over the demand for a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in western Odisha at Sambalpur. 

Taking strong exception to the ongoing strike by the lawyers, the bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka directed the agitating lawyers to resume work from Wednesday or else their license will either be suspended or cancelled. 

The bench also said that their failure to comply with the order may result in them losing their source of employment. 

The bench realized it that the ongoing strike of lawyers is affecting court works. 
The Orissa High Court had filed a petition regarding lawyers in several districts remaining absent from their works. Conducting a hearing over the development on November 11, the apex court asked the secretary of Odisha Bar Association and secretaries of District Bar Associations across the state to remain present during the next hearing on the plea on November 14. 

“Access to justice is the right of people. And lawyers are instrumental in providing that access. The bench felt due to the strike by lawyers in different districts, court works are getting affected,” informed Supreme Court advocate Umakanta Mishra. 

“They have a report which states that between January 1, 2022 and September 30, 2022, a total of 2,14,176 judicial working hours were lost due to the strike,” added Mishra.   

There has been a long-standing demand for a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in western Odisha at Sambalpur. The agitating lawyers alleged that the Centre had sought a complete proposal for the establishment of a permanent bench, whereas the Odisha government is yet to take any constructive step in this regard.

(Reported by Sibananda Rout, OTV)