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Suryakant Jena

The Orissa High Court on Wednesday unanimously decided to launch a formal opposition against the proposal for setting up of two permanent benches of the High Court of Orissa.

In a resolution passed by the General Body meeting, the HC Bar Association has decided to form an action committee to prepare a resentment representation for submission to the Chief Justice not to give his consent for establishment of two permanent benches of the High Court of Orissa both in south and western parts of the State.

The move by the lawyers' body comes just days after Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju urged Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to obtain the Orissa High Court nod for setting up the HC benches in western and southern Odisha.

In a letter, the Union Law Minister had suggested Naveen to hold consultations with the Orissa HC Chief Justice and chalk out details on requirements like land, building and staff for the proposed benches.

The Centre has said that it will take further necessary actions only after the proposal to set up the HC benches is sent by the State government after due consent from the High Court.

It may be noted that demand for setting up a permanent bench in western and southern Odisha has been hanging fire for the last several years. On several occasions, the situation has created mass protests in the regions.

On the other hand, Sambalpur Bar Association Sureswar Mishra said protests against the proposal of separate benches are unwarranted.

"The public in Odisha, in general, will be the biggest benefactor from the decentralization of the benches. The protests are being fuelled by only those who apprehend it will lead to setbacks in their profession. Of late, the Supreme Court has been stressing on justice at the doorstep, so we request all not to lend their voice," said Mishra.

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