Sambalpur: Augmenting the demand for establishment of a High Court bench in Western Odisha, the agitating lawyers today launched a cease-work strike in all courts in the western parts of the State. The strike will continue till September 26, informed Central Action Committee chief convenor Ashok Das.

As per a decision taken by the Central Action Committee, the lawyers would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his scheduled visit to Jharsuguda on September 22 to present their demand for a HC bench.

Reports claimed as many as 37 lawyers’ associations of 10 districts are members of the Central Action Committee.

Last month, a 15-member delegation of the Committee including Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi and members of the bar association met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Secretariat to put forth their long standing demands of establishment of a HC bench.

They had also demanded that a delegation of the State government should visit Delhi and talk to the Centre for further progress.

Later, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, through a letter to Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, had urged him to expedite the formal process for setting up the HC benches.

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However, on September 13, the Union Minister asked the Odisha government to send a comprehensive proposal in consultation with and consent of the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court for setting up High Court benches in southern and western parts of the State.

Prasad’s letter had further stated that the State government should work out the details including provision of land, building for High Court and residential accommodation for Judges and staff of the proposed Bench in consultation with the Chief Justice.