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Demand For HC Bench

Bhubaneswar: After a gap of few years in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the lawyers of Western Odisha again hit the street over their decades old demand for establishment of a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in their region.

To press their demand, hundreds of lawyers from Western Odisha under the banner of the Central Action Committee staged demonstrations here and also in Sambalpur on Wednesday.

People cutting across party lines took part in the agitation for the setting up of a permanent bench of the High Court. All courts and government offices in Sambalpur remained closed for the day.

The Judges in Sambalpur had to return without discharging their duties as several women slept on the way to court and did not allow them to enter the court premises.

In Bhubaneswar, the lawyers demonstrated before the State Assembly. Members of all Bar Associations in Western Odisha marched in a rally from the Master canteen to Assembly in support of their demand.

The lawyers alleged that though the Centre had asked the State government to send a comprehensive proposal for setting up a permanent bench in Western Odisha, the Government is sitting over it.

Central Action Committee Secretary Biswajit Panda said that the Chief Minister is taking up several issues with the central government but keeping mum on the subject of setting up a permanent bench of the HC in Western Odisha.

Leader of Opposition and Sambalpur BJP MLA Jaynarayan Mishra condemned the State Government for not taking a decision on the issue even after the Central Government made its stand clear. Another BJP MLA Nauri Naik participated in the demonstration in Bhubaneswar. 

Later, a delegation of the Central Action Committee held a discussion with a high-level team of State Government including Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari, Law Minister Jagannath Saraka and Health Minister Naba Kishore Das. Development Commissioner PK Jena, ACS Home, Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary Law, Satyapira Mishra and Principal Secretary Finance, Vishal Dev attended the meeting.

Following which, the lawyers decided to call off their agitation in Bhubaneswar as the State Government has assured them to look into their demand after the Chief Minister returns from Bangalore.