STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bolangir, 1 October
The Bolangir Bar Association has decided to continue with its cease-work agitation till the Justice CR Pal Commission submits its report.
The lawyers of this dominant western Odisha district have refused to be linked to the Central Action Committee which had spearheaded a strike for over one and a half months to press for a separate High Court Bench in the region.
Though the CAC has withdrawn its strike in view of a letter of recommendation written by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to the Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal suggesting the establishment of a permanent bench of the high court in western and southern Odisha, the Bolangir district bar has asserted that such a vague recommendation is meaningless, merely a political gimmick. A bench of the erstwhile Patna High Court used to function at Bolangir during the forties and hence any move to establish a bench should accord precedence to Bolangir, noted the lawyers here.
The lawyers who have been on a dharna in front of the district collectorate office and the civil court here for over one and half months today decided to continue with their cease work agitation. “They (the CAC) are demanding establishment of a permanent bench, we are demanding that the bench which was functioning at Bolangir during the pre independence and early post independence period be revived,” noted advocate Prasant Senapati.
The movement involving the western districts appears to be divided over location of the permanent bench. Besides Bolangir, Kalahandi has also staked claim. So have Sambalpur and Sundergarh districts.
Meanwhile government offices started functioning in Sambalpur district after a month-long lawyers strike. Government staff who were enjoying what to all purposes was a paid vacation returned to work today.