source – orissapost.com
New Delhi: Expressing concern over the huge number of working days lost due to lawyers’ strike, the Supreme Court Friday observed that the “judiciary has been brought to complete closure in Odisha.”
A two-judge bench of apex court comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph while referring to the affidavit filed by the Registrar of Orissa High Court observed that it’s not a case of standstill, it’s a case of bringing judiciary to complete closure.
“It’s matter of grave concern. 65 days of Orissa High Court were wasted due to cease work by lawyers in 2018. The situation is alarming as far as district courts are concerned. Some of the district courts have seen zero working days. In Patnagarh, Sohela, Attabira and Bolangir, the court could not function for a single day,” the bench observed.
“If you go for strike in demand for setting up another bench of High Court in Western Odisha then you don’t deserve a bench. You should work for extra hours, then I can understand that you need a bench,” Justice Kaul said in oral observation.
The court also noted that the High Court lawyers have withdrawn the resolution of strike. The bench asked the senior members to ensure that the working days of courts shall not be wasted.
“We expect that all district courts shall start working now,” the bench observed.
Meanwhile, during the hearing Attorney General KK Venugopal suggested that the lawyers should be given Complaint Redressal Committee and if lawyers go for strike without informing the committee about their issues then they shall be liable for contempt of court.
The representatives of Orissa High Court Bar Association and Orissa Bar Council submitted to the court that there should be identification of people doing picketing.
Significantly, the SC also opined that the process of appointment of judges to High Courts shall be completed in six months.
Expressing concern over the delay in filling the vacancies in High Courts, the bench suggested that the recommendation process shall start before six months of the vacancies arise and expects Centre to complete the appointment process in six months.
Senior Advocated Vikas Singh informed the court that the total number of Orissa High Court judges is half of the sanctioned strength which is one of the reasons why the lawyers went on strike.