Cuttack, Sept. 28: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today assured the High Court Bar Association delegates that the state government would give its assent for five more judges in the high court on a priority basis.
The chief minister also said the government would take a decision on setting up of a permanent high court bench after considering various bar associations’ demands.
The 15-member delegation, led by senior advocates Shyamananda Mohapatra and Gangadhar Tripathy, told Naveen that though the Centre had sanctioned 27 posts of Orissa High Court judges, the state government gave financial concurrence for 22 judges.
A memorandum submitted in connection with it demanded a proposal to the Centre for increasing the judges’ strength to 40.
“The chief minister said the government would consider the demand but assured us to provide on priority basis concurrence for five more judges, according to the present sanctioned strength,” association secretary Janmejaya Katikiya told The Telegraph.
The memorandum expressed concern over the increasing backlog of cases. The number of cases pending before the high court has gone up to 3.5 lakh. Besides, the number of cases instituted everyday has far exceeded those disposed. At least 40 judges are required to deal with the situation. The high court in recent years has been functioning with 14 to 15 judges.
The delegation also drew the chief minister’s attention to finance minister Prasanna Acharya’s statement on setting up of a bench in western Odisha.
“We requested that the state government should not to give any recommendation related to setting up of a high court bench to the Centre before getting the Justice C.R. Pal Commission’s report. The chief minister said appropriate decision would be taken, according to the law, taking into consideration the demands of various bar associations,” Katikiya said.
In a separate memorandum, the association stated that when the government had set up the commission and asked it to submit the report within two months, there was no necessity for another recommendation on the issue prior to getting the report.
The high court lawyers went on a sudden strike since the post-lunch session on Thursday to protest against Acharya’s statement. They decided to abstain from court work indefinitely.
“A decision on future course of action will be taken on the basis of the outcome of our meeting with the chief minister at our general body meet on Monday,” said Katikiya.