NRI urges PM, CM for HC Bench

Non-resident Odia professor Digambara Patra of the American University of Beirut has demanded establishment of a High Court Bench or Circuit Bench in Bhawanipatna.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Odisha, Patra has cited that a High Court Bench or Circuit Bench exists along with their parent HC in many States in India due to work load or given the distance and backwardness of specific locations.

However, in Odisha, though there are many regions which fulfill all the criteria for establishment of HC Bench or Circuit Bench, it is not done. The Jaswant Singh Commission has pointed out that a distance of 400-km from the parent HC should be a factor to have a HC Bench in a backward location, he said in the letter.

He said political demands for HC Benches in Sambalpur and Behrampur are illogical as both areas are well-connected with Cuttack and people can return in the same day finishing work in the court at Cuttack by train. HC Benches in any State in India are located at least 320 km away from parent HC seat, except in Lucknow, which is a State capital and Allahabad with a court since British era. Both Sambalpur and Berhampur are located less than 300 km from Cuttack.

He pointed out that communication to KBK region in Odisha is poor and the region is considered to be given special category State status in line with the north east States due to their hilly, tribal and backward characters.

Therefore, based on their long distance and backwardness, a HC Bench for KBK region comprising the backward districts in western and southern parts of Odisha should be ideal.

“Kalahandi Bar Association has demanded earlier for a HC Bench in Bhawanipatna. So, there is demand for the same in Jeypore and Balangir by the local bar associations. However, Bhawanipatna is a central location in KBK and south western Odisha comprising Kandhamal, Boudh, Gajapati and Bargarh, etc. Bhawanipatna is also far away from Cuttack, above 400 km but is well-connected by SH and NH with all the south western districts. Hence, Bhawanipatna has a solid ground to host a HC Bench or Circuit Bench,”

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