Orissa high court bar association opposes setting up of 2 new benches
There is no need for new benches, creation of new benches would mean only wastage of public money on creating new infrastructure, said the Orissa high court bar association. However, lawyers in western and southern Odisha said protests against the proposal of separate benches are unwarranted.
BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa high court bar association has passed a resolution opposing the proposal for setting up of two permanent benches of the high court in southern and western Odisha.
In a resolution passed in the general body meeting, the association decided to form an action committee to prepare a resentment representation that will be submitted to chief justice S Muralidhar urging him not to give his consent for establishment of two permanent benches of Orissa high court.
Kali Prasanna Mishra, president of Orissa high court bar association said the members discussed the proposal of union law minister Kiren Rijiju to chief minister Naveen Patnaik urging him to obtain the Orissa high court nod for setting up the high court benches in western and southern Odisha. Rijiju, in his letter last month, suggested Patnaik hold consultations with the Orissa high court chief justice and chalk out details on requirements like land, building and staff for the proposed benches. Rijiju said the Centre will take further necessary actions only after the proposal to set up the high court benches is sent by the state government after due consent from the court.
“We have decided to form an action committee that would prepare a resentment representation for submission before the chief justice. When advocates counsels from remote parts of the state can participate in the proceedings of the Supreme Court and HCs, there is no need for new benches. Besides, creation of new benches would mean only wastage of public money on creating new infrastructure,” said Mishra, president of the Bar Association.
However, lawyers in western and southern Odisha said protests against the proposal of separate benches are unwarranted. “The public in Odisha, in general, will be the biggest benefactor from the decentralisation of the benches. The protests are being fuelled by only those who think it will lead to setbacks in their profession. Of late, the Supreme Court has been stressing justice at the doorstep,” said Sambalpur bar association’s Sureswar Mishra. Sushil Tripathy, secretary of the Ganjam bar association said HC benches will help achieve that aspiration to a great extent.
The move for two new benches of the high court has come 8 years after a single-member judicial commission, headed by Justice C.R. Pal, concluded that it is not expedient to set up a high court bench in view of the conflicting and rival demands by various bar associations in their respective regions. The CR Pal commission was set up in March 2008 to consider feasibility of high court benches outside Cuttack.
There have been several bandhs in western Odisha over the last few years demanding separate bench of the high court. In 2018, the bandh by people of western Odisha, spanned over several months.