The Rourkela Bar Association (RBA), one of the largest Bars in Western Odisha, has intensified its demand to locate the proposed High Court (HC) bench at Rourkela in the tribal-dominated Sundargarh district.
The Bar claimed that Rourkela is the only place which unlike other Western Odisha districts fulfils all criteria to stake the claim.
A day ahead of the proposed meeting of the core committee leaders of Central Action Committee (CAC), a conglomeration of different Western Odisha Bar Associations, with the State Government, the RBA on Friday hurriedly convened its general body meeting.
Later, a message was learnt to have sent to the Government stating that RBA was not part of CAC and favoured the proposed bench at Rourkela.
RBA president Ramesh Bal said Rourkela is the most suitable place in the region having cosmopolitan character and being well connected by national and state highways and railways.
He said since the proposed bench should be more than 300 kms from the HC at Cuttack, Rourkela meets the criteria and has required infrastructures.
Echoing similar views, Rourkela-based Additional Government Pleader Gobinda Pradhan said with a population of around 22 lakhs, the city is affected by Maoists and criminal outfits of adjacent Jharkhand. Besides, a staggering number of criminal, civil, revenue, industrial, labour, SC/ST atrocities and unauthorised transfer of tribal land cases in the district is pending in the High Court.
He claimed that at least 40 of his cases are lying with the HC for first and second appeal for years. Of the three lakh pending cases in the High Court, at least 30 per cent are from the district, he added.
Sundargarh District Bar Association secretary Pradip Mohanty in a guarded reply said the location for the proposed bench would be amicably decided later.
Meanwhile, closure of State Government offices by lawyers in Sundargarh, Rajgangpur and Birmitrapur towns and Rourkela city continued.