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Orissa High Court turns 65

Cuttack, July 26: Orissa High Court’s 65th foundation day was observed today by garlanding the statue of the first Chief Justice of Orissa High Court — Bira Kishore Ray — whose death anniversary is also today.

When the Circuit Court of Patna High Court for Orissa held its first sitting in Cuttack on May 16, 1916, the Cuttack Bar Association had expressed the hope that the Circuit Court would become a permanent bench for Orissa in the future.

But when Orissa was made a separate province on April 1, 1936, it was not given a separate high court. “The High Court Bar Association in Cuttack demanded a separate high court for Orissa by passing a resolution on July 26, 1938. But the high court was established only in 1948,” said lawyer Chittaranjan Mohanty.

Through an order on April 30, 1948, the Government of India first declared a Court of the Province for Orissa from July 5, 1948. But subsequently, by an Orissa High Court (Amendment) Order, the date was changed to July 26, 1948.

“Justice Bira Kishore Ray, the first Advocate General of the new Orissa province and the first Odia to become a judge of the high court of Patna became the first Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on July 26, 1948. He died on July 26, a decade later, on the tenth foundation day of Orissa High Court in 1958,” said Jajati Kesari Katikia, secretary of the High Court Bar Association.

“On the occasion of the foundation day today, Chief Justice C. Nagappan and other judges garlanded Justice Bira Kishore Ray’s statue on the court premises and his portrait at the High Court Bar Association Hall,” Katikia said.

The Justice Bira Kishore Ray Memorial Lecture will be held tomorrow at Saheed Bhavan to observe the death anniversary of the eminent jurist. Lawyer and MP Arun Jaitley will address the memorial lecture organised by the Justice B.K. Ray Memorial Trust.

H.J. Kania, the then Chief Justice of the Federal Court of India, had inaugurated Orissa High Court on July 26, 1948, with Bira Kishore Ray as Chief Justice and B. Jagannadha Das, L. Panigrahi and R.L. Narasingham as judges.

Orissa High Court today has 15 judges, including the Chief Justice, against a sanctioned strength of 22. A new seven-storey high court building was inaugurated on November 10 last year by then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir. But the high court is yet to be shifted to the new building.

While the old high court building has 11 courtrooms, the new one has 22 courtrooms and 22 chambers for judges along with lounges for them. With other state-of-the-art facilities, the new building has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 64 crore.