Strike-crippled courts, a ‘constitutional crisis in Odisha’

Bhubaneswar: From Western to Coastal Odisha, the entire judicial system has virtually been brought to its knees by agitations by lawyers over various issues in the State.

This has led to massive resentment among people as they are being deprived of judicial services and justice. It is pertinent to mention here that the lawyers in western Odisha are on a cease-work agitation demanding a permanent High Court Bench in the region.

“We have extended our strike till July 20,” said Pramod Kumar Tripathy, President of Bolangir district lawyers’ association.

In Orissa High Court, lawyers continue to boycott the courts of Collegium-member judges protesting the recommendation of names of lawyers who are not regular practitioners in the High Court for appointment as judges.

“As the name of a lawyer, who is not a practitioner in Orissa High Court, has been recommended for appointment as judge, we are boycotting courts of collegium-member judges,” said Gopal Krushna Mohanty, President of the High Court Bar Association.

Similarly, the lawyers in Bhubaneswar are also continuing their agitation protesting assault on one of their members.

The heat of ongoing lawyer’s agitation was also felt in Odisha Assembly with Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra raising the issue in the House today.

Alleging that there is a constitutional crisis in Odisha, Mishra demanded that Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik should furnish his reply in the House on the issue.

“Today, I have warned Odisha government to take necessary measures so that people are not deprived of justice,” said Mishra.

Meanwhile, the statements of BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik – There is something behind non-functioning of courts and if I say everything in open, I will be in trouble – put the State government in an awkward situation.

“A democratic set up cannot work under a system where actions of MLAs, Police and State government are always under scrutiny, while whatever the lawyers are doing is correct,” said Patnaik.

BJD MLA Amar Satpathy said that “Pending cases are not being disposed off due to ongoing strikes. We have demanded State government to intervene in the matter.”