Staff Reporter

Setting up of permanent High Court Benches

Lawyers’ agitation continues in southern and western Orissa

CM alleged of not doing proper homework

BERHAMPUR: Legal experts blamed the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not taking proper logical legal steps towards establishment of permanent High Court Benches in south Orissa and western Orissa.

Lawyers’ agitation is continuing in both these regions of the State which has also affected the functioning of the courts.

Mr Patnaik takes the plea that he had written to the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on November 8 last on thesetting up of permanent benches of the High Court in western and southern regions of Orissa.

But the proposal was turned down by the Chief Justice of the High Court through a letter.

But the letter written by the Chief Minister did not seem to be a serious effort. As per the reply letter written by the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly, the Chief Minister did not provide any reason or material to substantiate the demand for establishment of High Court benches.

Proposals rejected

In his reply the Chief Justice had cited that earlier in 1991, 1997 and 2005 the Chief Justices or full court of Orissa High Court had rejected proposals for establishment of circuit benches of the court away from its principal seat. On all those occasions the Chief Justice or the full court had rejected the proposal.

The Chief Minister had referred to the recommendations of the Jaswant Singh Commission. But the Orissa High Court had earlier considered the recommendations of this commission in a meeting dated January 1, 1991.

Legal expert, Chittaranjan Dash alleged that the Chief Minister did not do proper home work before approaching the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice also referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case Federation of Bar Association Vs Union of India.

The Supreme Court had pointed out that if the High Court does not favour establishment of Benches outside then it is pernicious to dissect a High Court into different regions on the ground of political or other considerations.

According to Mr. Dash the Chief Minister should not have sat silent after this rejection from the High Court.

Replying to a question regarding opening of High Court Benches in Lok Sabha on April 29, 2005, the Union Minister of Law and Justice, Hansaraj Bharadwaj had said the Central Government would consider it when a complete proposal is received from the State Government in consultation with the concerned High Court.

No such proposal for establishment of High Court Benches has been sent to the Central Government by the Orissa Government till date.

“He should have sent the complete proposal of having High Court Benches to the Centre along with the letter of rejection from the High Court,” Mr. Dash said.

The Ganjam Bar Association had also proposed the Chief Minister to take similar step.