Striking Odisha Lawyers To Meet Today On SC Directive

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New Delhi/Cuttack: The Orissa High Court Bar Association is scheduled to hold an action committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon on the Supreme Court’s directive taking strong exception to the ongoing cease-work agitation by lawyers in Odisha.

The meeting by the agitating lawyers comes a day ahead of the scheduled hearing of the case on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the apex court had taken strong exception to the agitation by the members of the Orissa High Court Bar Association and directed the High Court to ensure that litigants were allowed to appear in court even if it meant deploying para-military for their security.

Issuing the directive, an SC division bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph had also sought a report on the issue within two days.

“We have inquired from the learned counsel as to what steps have been taken by the High Court towards the said objective and whether the local police is in a position to ensure the same, failing which the para-military forces would have to be deployed for which direction can be issued to the Central government,” the bench said.

The SC directive came while hearing a case by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL). As the case could not be taken up for hearing in the Orissa High Court due to the lawyers’ agitation, the MCL counsel had appealed for the hearing to be transferred to the Supreme Court.

The Orissa High Court Bar Association has been on a cease-work since October 14 in protest against the appointment of HC judges as per the recommendations of the SC collegium.

Earlier in May, the HC had recommended the names of four judicial officers and seven advocates for appointment as HC judges. Of these, the SC collegium had approved the names of advocate Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi and judicial officer Bibhu Prasad Routray.

Condemning the collegium system, the Bar Association demanded the introduction of a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJCA) for selecting HC judges.

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