BHUBANESWAR: The rift in the Bhubaneswar Bar Association (BBA) came out in the open here on Monday after the victim of alleged police assault requested the lawyers to call off the ceasework only to be vetoed ‘unanimously’ at the general body meeting.
Addressing a letter to the BBA secretary, Nihar Ranjan Sethi requested the lawyers to call off the ceasework as prolonged strike was causing major public inconvenience. He also mentioned in the letter that he was satisfied with the State Government’s directive to hand over the probe of the alleged assault to the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC).
Sethi’s letter prompted the lawyers of Bhubaneswar Bar Association to convene a general body meeting in which the members unanimously vetoed his request.
Judicial work in District Sessions Court, Khurda has been hit since July 21 after lawyers launched an indefinite strike protesting the alleged police assault on Sethi on July 18.
When asked what took him so long to make up his mind about State Government’s decision, Sethi said he had not received any official communication from the Government. HRPC officials have begun recording Sethi’s version of the assault for the last two days.
“Many people have approached me and requested me to break the deadlock. Not only public, but junior lawyers and small shop vendors, who depend on court work for their livelihood, are being adversely affected due to the prolonged strike,” he said.
BBA general secretary Jayant Mishra said he had to convene an urgent general body meeting after receiving Sethi’s letter on Monday morning. “As the victim himself is satisfied with the Government’s decision, the matter was placed before the general body meeting. But the lawyers were of the opinion that the issue has snowballed and now concerned the entire lawyers’ fraternity,” he said.
He added that a resolution was passed unanimously that the lawyers will not call off the ceasework. The association will form a sub-committee on Tuesday which will decide on the future course of action. Sethi said he only has the power to request the association but will go by whatever decision they take at the general body meeting.