CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court (HC) has asked the State government to file an affidavit on the scope of the task entrusted to the committee formed by it for consideration of permanent HC benches at places other than the principal seat in Cuttack.
On March 8, the Home department had first constituted a five-member committee to examine the various aspects of establishment of permanent HC bench in western and southern parts of the State. Following agitations by Sambalpur District Bar Association members over HC bench demand, the committee was formed with Additional Chief Secretary in Home department as its chairman. The Home department through another notification on August 28, 2019 reconstituted it into a six-member committee by including the Development Commissioner as Chairman.
Shivsankar Mohanty, a High Court lawyer filed a PIL challenging the legal validity of the committee on September 9, 2019. While seeking quashing of the two notifications issued related to the committee, the petition sought interim direction prohibiting the State government from proceeding further on the issue for consideration of any aspect for establishment of permanent bench of Orissa HC.
Though the HC admitted the petition on December 2, 2019, it refused to give interim relief. When the PIL came up for hearing on March 30, 2021, the HC wanted to know about the details of the committee.