The functioning of various judicial courts and the district civil administration had been paralysed since September 5 in the district following the strike and dharna call given by the members of the Sambalpur District Bar Association in support of its demand for the establishment of a bench of Orissa High Court.
While the judiciary system has been paralysed since September 5 , the district collectorate had been closed since September 26. The lawyers had been staging a dharna in front of the main gate of the collectorate obstructing officials and causing hardship for the common people. The agitating lawyers also resorted to dharna in front of the main gate of the revenue divisional commissioner’s office and stopping the employees from joining work, resulting in closure of the entire revenue division. Apart from that, the sub-collector’s office, tehsil oiffice, planning office and registration office — which are situated outside the compound of the collectorate — were also shut.
The district administration has written to the government on the issue of agitation by the lawyers and its effect on the administration and the common man. The government was to take a decision on this, said an official source.
According to the decision of the Central Action Committee, the body of lawyers of west Odisha sprearheading the agitation for the establishment of a high court bench in the region, the protests will continue till November 15. The lawyers are preventing the judges from attending their courts by obstructing their vehicle every day in front of the court.
“This is our do-or-die agitation. We will continue with this till the last,” Bijendriya Pradhan , president of the Sambalpur District Bar Association said. The strike has affected not only the normal development work, but also revenue collection from land registration in tehsil and registration offices. As no bail petition is moved for undertrials by the lawyers, inmates of the Sambalpur circle jail are bearing the brunt of the prolonged agitation. Many undertrials committing bailable offences have not been able to get bails overcrowding the jail.