Lawyers tread a cautious path

Going by the past experience, lawyers agitating for permanent High Court bench are treading a cautious path. A day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal to set up two benches, lawyers of 33 bar associations in Sambalpur region decided to suspend the agitation. At its meeting in Boudh on Sunday, the Central Action Committee (CAC) of All-Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) decided to continue with its ceasework on last three days of every month till the Bench becomes a reality.

However, the Kalahandi lawyers have threatened to continue with the agitation. District Bar Association president Daitari Pradhan said the State Government must wait till Justice CR Pal Commission submits its report.

Bhawanipatna, he reiterated, is the most suitable location for HC bench as per Jaswant Singh Committee report in the KBK region. The letter by Naveen is a tactical move to divert attention, he said.

Although the Chief Minister’s letter is being seen as a battle half won for Sambalpur region lawyers,  it would still be a long drawn affair. In the past, former Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily had assured to give assent to the proposal if forwarded by the State Government.

The CAC would meet again in November in Nuapada and decide the next course of action. The CAC Convenor,  while expressing gratitude to the Chief Minister, admitted there was still a long way to go.

He was, however, critical of the stand taken by the High Court Bar Association over establishment of Benches and said the lawyers would observe Monday as “protest day” to register their anguish over the stand. But State Government offices will be allowed to function smoothly from Monday, he added.

Lawyers of Koraput and Jeypore, who had resorted to ceasework demanding a High Court bench in Southern Odisha, have withdrawn their strike.

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