Staff Reporter

Launch ‘cease work’ stir

BERHAMPUR: Lawyers have intensified their agitations in the western and southern parts of the State demanding permanent benches of the high court in these areas.

Almost all judicial and revenue courts in the districts of western Orissa remained closed on Wednesday following the week-long “cease work” call given by the western Orissa Action Committee of lawyers.

The agitation would continue till December 19, said president of the Sambalpur Bar Association Raghunath Badhei. They were even planning to go on indefinite strike from January 1. Legal work was also affected in other western districts like Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Bolangir and Kalahandi.

Divided lot

But the lawyers’ agitation in western Orissa received a jolt as the Bolangir district Bar Association decided to detach itself from the western Orissa’s action committee led by the Sambalpur Bar Association. Members of the Bolangir Bar Association were opposed to establishment of the bench in Sambalpur. Though they decided to continue with the stir, they were in favour of setting up the high court bench at Bolangir.

Bijayananda Mishra, a member of the Bolangir Bar Association, said members of the Sambalpur Bar Association did not take all other bar associations of western Orissa into confidence before meeting the Minister over the issue.

“They are also trying to project Sambalpur as the place for the proposed bench of the high court though at the action committee meetings no place was decided for the purpose and the aim was to only demand for a bench in western Orissa,” he said. One of the clauses in the deal of accession of erstwhile kingdom of Bolangir with Orissa after independence was establishment of a bench of the high court in Bolangir, the lawyers of the association said.

All courts in judicial and revenue courts in Ganjam district remained closed due to the agitation by members of all bar association of the district demanding a permanent bench of the high court for south Orissa in Berhampur.

Ganjam Bar Association members were on strike for the last nine days. All other bar associations went on strike from Wednesday. They held street corner meetings in all parts of the district to create public awareness in support of the demand.