Demand for High Court bench in Western Odisha grows louder

Sambalpur: It is now almost two months that the lawyers are on a cease-work agitation pressing for a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in Western Odisha.

The situation is likely to worsen things on the ground as the Central Action Committee (CAC) of the All Western Odisha Bar Association has already threatened to continue the ongoing strike for an indefinite period. The lawyers have called for a 48-hour ‘maha bandh’ across the Western Odisha on November 29 and 30.

It is pertinent to mention that the lawyers in Sambalpur have been on strike paralysing the functioning of the courts since September 5.

Secretary of Sambalpur Bar Association, Prabir Singh Deo stated that they are open for talks with government. “The State government and administration will be responsible if they fail to discuss the matter with us,” said Singh Deo.

“We want High Court bench in Bolangir and we will observe a bandh to press for our demands,” said Bolangir Lawyers’ Association President, Ashok Mohanty.

Meanwhile, the issue of High Court bench in Western Odisha was also raised in Odisha Assembly today. While, the members cutting across party lines expressed concerns over the issue, BJP legislature party leader KV Singh Deo demanded that the Jaswant Singh Commission report should be tabled in the House. “Why Odisha government is not categorically informing whether it has accepted or rejected the Jaswant Singh Commission report,” said Singh Deo.

Leader of Opposition, Narasingha Mishra, on the other hand stated that ‘Through the Speaker we have urged the government to intervene in the matter and requested them to write to Centre on where the High Court bench will be set up.”

BJD MLA Jogendra Behera too demanded that Odisha government should either accept or reject Jaswant Singh Commission report and urge Centre to set up a High Court bench in Sambalpur or Bolangir.