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Govt against lawyer pay

Cuttack, Dec. 17: The Odisha government today strongly opposed monthly stipend for new lawyers in the state.

Orissa High Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking judicial intervention for monthly stipend to young lawyers, who have an annual income of less than Rs 24,000.

Opposing the proposal on behalf of the state, advocate general Ashok Mohanty said lawyers are not entitled to monthly stipend as, he said, they belonged to the “privileged class”. But when petitioner counsel Kedar Nath Jena pressed for a counter affidavit by Thursday, Mohanty sought more time.

Taking note of the submissions, the division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra, before whom the petition came up for hearing, allowed the advocate general time till the court reopens after winter vacation on January 2 to clarify its stand through an affidavit.

Dillip Kumar Mohapatra, a 43-year-old high court lawyer, had filed the public interest litigation. The court had issued notices to the state law department on October 8 to file a counter affidavit within three weeks. But the order had not been complied with.

Unsafe transformers

Power distribution transformers without safety shield in different parts of Odisha are cause for concern as “electrical accidents are frequently taking place” because of lack of safety measures.

A public interest litigation filed in Orissa High Court has alleged that “non-fencing of the open transformers in and around electric substations in different parts of Odisha was resulting in frequent tragic incidents and life of the people, property and animals are in danger”.

The public interest litigation has sought the court’s intervention against alleged inaction by power distribution companies on the state energy department’s direction to take safety measures “on mission mode” to prevent frequent electrical accidents. Akshay Kumar Das, 65, advisor of Maitree Sansad, a city-based social service organisation, filed the PIL.

The division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra, before whom the petition came up for hearing, issued notices to the secretary, energy department, and the four power distribution companies operating in the state to file replies.