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Lawyers protest, litigants suffer

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 12: Litigants suffered as lawyers at the district and sessions’ court, Khurda, abstained from work for the third consecutive day today.

The lawyers observed cease work to protest against the delay in the construction of the new judicial complex at Khurda.

Advocates from all over the state had refrained from judicial activities on Thursday and Friday to protest against the delay in the state government’s decision on the issue of matching grants to be sanctioned to them under the Orissa Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act.

Rajesh Chhualsingh, who had come to Khurda today following summons regarding a property dispute case, said that he was not aware of the ongoing cease work by the lawyers.

“I knew the advocates had observed a cease work last week. I did not know that they would abstain from work even today. Initially, I thought my work would be done smoothly, but I have to wait for another day,” said Chhualsingh, a building constructor.

All the 25 courts working on the Bhubaneswar court premises, along with the sub-registrar’s office, remained closed because of the cease work.

In the morning, the lawyers picketed in front of the court gate and did not allow anyone to enter the court except the judges and the members of the court staff.

“We have been demanding a judicial complex here as lack of space has been creating problems for carrying out judicial and revenue activities. Though the high court has given its approval for the new building, the state government has been delaying in granting the fund for the construction. We have stopped working to show our protest against the delay,” said Chittaranjan Baliarsingh, general secretary of the Bhubaneswar Bar Association.

He added that the estimated cost of the proposed seven-storey building was Rs 40 crore. But, the work could not start as the financial sanctions from the state government were pending.

“We hope the cease work will put some pressure on the government and they will sanction an initial amount so that the work can be started,” said Baliarsingh.

The office-bearers of the bar association said that more than 10,000 people and law practitioners come on the court premises for their works everyday.

The Bhubaneswar court, which was established 1981, is currently reeling from acute space shortage.

The existing court building and revenue office building cannot be extended either horizontally or vertically as the plinth area is limited to only two storeys.