09 November 2019
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has asked the Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra to ensure that all courts in Odisha should start functioning immediately and forthwith.
A bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph issued the directive after Kumar told the court that the BCI has passed a resolution that lawyers who would not join work will possibly face the strictest and stringent action.
The bench of the Supreme Court issued the directive on Thursday to Kumar while conducting a hearing on cessation of work by lawyers in Odisha.
"So ongoing strike by lawyers in district courts across Odisha will have to stop and they have to join court work by next week as per the direction of the apex court," informed Sibo Mishra, counsel for Orissa High Court in the case.
Mishra said that the Supreme Court's directive came in response to Orissa High Court's submission through an affidavit that few courts in Odisha like Sambalpur and Deogarh had zero working days in 2018-19.
Notably, the apex court had sought details from the Orissa High Court on the loss of working days in different courts of Odisha in 2018-19 due to the cessation of work by lawyers.
The Orissa High Court Bar Association through its counsel K V Viswanathan tendered its apology to the apex court for its cessation of court work while telling the Supreme Court that it has resumed court work and assured that it won't repeat it again and would resort to other forms of protest to secure its demands.
The apex court told the OHCBA that if it is repeated it will be considered as contempt.
President of OHCBA Gopal Krushna Mohanty personally appeared before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had in its earlier hearing directed the OHCBA president to appear in person before it.
One and all felt that the biggest problem was the vacancies of judges in the Orissa High Court which has less than 50% of judges as compared to its sanctioned strength.
"The Supreme Court has observed that recommendation process for filling up of vacancies of judges in the High Court should be initiated six months before an anticipated vacancy and within six months the entire process starting with the recommendation by the high court and collegium of supreme court and then the government level has to be completed within maximum of six months and not years and years together. The court directed the attorney general to impress upon the government to work on this and report it by December 6th," informed Mishra.
The next date for hearing in the matter has been fixed for December 6.