Cuttack,Nov 15 (UNI) The functioning of Orissa High Court and the lower courts in Cuttack was paralysed today as lawyers abstained from work to protest Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's letter to the Chief Justice requesting for setting up permanent benches of the High Court at Sambalpur and Berhampur.
The lawyers abstained in response to a call given by the Orissa High Court Bar Association. The High Court bar at a meeting yesterday passed a resolution and asked the lawyers to abstain from the court work for two days beginning today to protest the Chief Minister's request letter.
The Chief Minister in a letter to the Chief Justice had favoured opening up of permanent benches of the High Court at Samblpur and Berhampur to provide justice to the poor people of those area.
The meeting called upon the Chief justice to reject the recommendation of the Chief Minister and requested the state government to desist from pursuing the'' ill-conceived decision.'' The meeting held under the Chairmanship of Bar Association President Yasheen Mohanty said the setting up of the permanent benches at Sambalpur and Berhampur would disintegrate the High Court and affect the administration of justice.
The meeting said the law commission comprising Mr Setalvad, Mr M C Chagla and others were of the view that the setting up of High Court at different centre was undesirable and the objective of the High Court to safeguard the liberty of the citizens and ensure rule of law would be defeated if the bench of the high courts were set up in different places.
The meeting said the recommendations of the law commission should not be discarded on political and administrative grounds.
It also argued that when major high courts like calcutta, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh with heavy work loads had rejected the proposal to have circuit courts, the experiment should not be carried out in a small state like Orissa.