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Odisha HC Lawyers Call Off Strike

01 November 2019

Bikash Sharma

Cuttack: Orissa High Court Bar Association (OHCBA) called off its strike following a decision at its general body meeting here today.

"In considering the request of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the majority opinion of the senior advocates of Orissa High Court and the Action Committee members and further taking into consideration the assurance of the Law Minister of India to look into the grievances and demands of our bar association, the High Court Bar Association resolves to suspend the abstaining from court work and resume the court work in the interest of the litigants and public while continuing its struggle for protecting the interest of the lawyers and the bar association and raising its voice against any unfair and arbitrary action of the authorities undermining the dignity and independence of the judiciary in the appropriate forum," informed OHCBA president Gopal Krushna Mohanty reading out  from the resolution taken at the OHCBA's general body meeting here today.

Mohanty explained that the OHCBA still remains committed to its demand for immediate filling up of vacancies of judges in Odisha wherever these are lying vacant to give justice to the litigant public.

The OHCBA president reiterated that preference should be given to lawyers practicing in the High Court while filling up of vacancies of judges in the High Court.

"Since we don't have faith in the collegium system which is now in practice, either it should be reformed or the NJAC system should be introduced," he pointed out. 

Mohanty said that they remain committed to their demands but since the BCI, the highest regulatory body of lawyers of the country had requested them against abstaining from court work, showing respect to its request and in the interest of the litigants they have withdrawn from abstaining from court work.

"We will join the court, we are committed to our demand and we will take a decision on what steps we will take for the fulfillment of these demands in another forum," he said.

Lawyers had been abstaining from court work since October 14 in protest against the recommendation by the Supreme Court collegium for the appointment of judges to the High Court.

The Supreme Court had expressed its displeasure over the strike by the lawyers and had observed that the demand of the lawyers could have hardly been a ground to abstain from work. The apex court had also warned the agitating lawyers that their conduct could be treated as contempt of court. It had issued notices to the OHCBA president to appear before it in person on November 8, the date fixed for the next hearing in the case.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) had also requested the OHCBA to resume work and end the strike.  The lawyers who fail to abide by the BCI’s stricture will face suspension as well as disqualification from taking part in Bar Council elections, the BCI had said. 

Gopal Krushna Mohanty, President, Orissa High Court Bar Association