CUTTACK: The long-standing demand for the establishment of a permanent bench of High Court in Western Odisha gained momentum on Friday with thousands of people under the banner of Western Odisha Citizens’ Action Committee staging mass agitation and dharna at Belleview point near Orissa High Court here.
After organising a protest meeting, a 9-member delegation of the committee, led by BJP legislature Radha Rani Panda and Congress legislature Naba Das, met Chief Justice Vineet Saran and submitted a memorandum appealing him to recommend for the establishment of High Court bench in Western Odisha to provide justice at the doorstep.
The demand has been pending for the last 55 years, the committee members said. The bench has remained out of reach of 1.5 crore people of the region comprising 10 districts, he added. They cited in the memorandum that a majority of people of Western Odisha belong to socially and economically weaker sections and are forced to give up their fight for justice because of the cost involved in travel and stay in Cuttack during the hearing of cases.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had issued letters twice to the Central Government for the establishment of High Court bench in Western and Southern Odisha with assurance to provide all infrastructure. In response, the GOI had written to Orissa High Court to provide its views and recommendation but the same is yet to be complied with by the Centre, the memorandum stated.
Lawyers, members of various socio-cultural organisations and elected representatives from various parts of Western Odisha participated in the dharna.Among others, BJD legislature Raseswari Panigrahi, former MLAs Kishore Mohanty and Suresh Pujari participated in the protest meeting convened by Prafulla Kumar Hota, convener of the committee.