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Orissa High Court issues notice on contempt proceeding to state bar associations

Bhubaneswar: In an unprecedented development all fourteen judges of the Orissa High Court sat together and issued notices for contempt proceedings to 136 functionaries of various bar associations in the state, the Odisha Chief Secretary and Bar Council of India over abstention and strikes across courts in the state.

A long-pending demand for a separate High Court in Western Odisha and interminent strikes have affected the functioning of the legal system in the state. The HC Bar Association had gone on strike on Monday 14 October calling for an all Odisha strike from 16 October onwards as a mark of protest over alleged “irregular appointment” of a judge to the Orissa High Court.

Taking suo motto cognisance of strikes and abstentions, the Chief Justice and all thirteen other judges of the High Court in Cuttack sat together on Tuesday to look into whether these actions where in contempt of past Supreme Court orders and guidelines.

The order, signed off by all fourteen of them, said various district judges and the High Court’s registry had asked it to look into the “obstruction of the administration of justice”.

Referring to past SC judgements (Ex-captain Harish Uppal vs Union of India and Hussain and another vs Union of India) the HC has asked functionaries, presidents and secretaries of various bar councils of the state, senior officials in Naveen Patnaik’s government — the chief secretary, principal secretary, home department and principal secretary, law department — the chairman of the Odisha State Bar Council, Cuttack and the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, New Delhi to respond by 21 October 2019 when the matter is to be heard again.

Source: Economic Times