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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Odisha State Bar Council has written a letter to the Bar Council of India (BCI) seeking action against various lawyers associations continuing protests for establishment of a Orissa High Court bench in western Odisha.

In the letter, the council has recommended disciplinary action against members of 17 lawyers' associations & central working committees for continuing protest over establishment of permanent HC bench.

“Despite the directive of Supreme Court and requests of Bar Council of India and Odisha State Bar Council, the members of the bar associations in the western Odisha have been continuing their cease work agitation. In this context, we are proposing the Bar Council of India to take disciplinary action against the members of these bar associations. Besides, we have recommended action against the members of the central action committee,” a letter issued by the State Bar Council read.

Meanwhile, several bar associations of western Odisha convened a joint meeting at Bolangir to discuss over the State Bar Council's letter to BCI and decide the next course of action. Besides, the lawyers’ association has also called for Western Odisha bandh on February 5 after the State Bar Council sought disciplinary action against the protesting lawyers.

“The State and the Centre should stop playing divide and rule policy. In case of any action and cancellation of licence of any member by the Bar Council of India, we will surrender our licences en mass,” said Sambalpur Bar Association President, Bijitendriya Pradhan.

While Ashok Das, convenyor of Central Action Committee, demanded intervention of the State government and the Centre into the matter, the Western Odisha laywers said that they will continue to fight for their rights.

Notably, lawyers of western Odisha have been protesting inordinate delay in establishment of a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in Sambalpur. The lawyers expressed disappointment over non-functioning of high-level intra-departmental committee constituted by the state government to look into the demand for establishment of permanent HC bench in western Odisha.

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