Orissa HC to hear lawyers’ case on Monday

The high court had fixed November 9 as deadline for the IG (CID-crime branch) to complete inquiry into the police-lawyer scuffle and submit the report

By Lalmohan Patnaik in Cuttack
  • Published 10.11.18, 12:43 AM
  • Updated 10.11.18, 12:43 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Orissa High Court File picture

The 73-day-old agitation by the lawyers continued on Friday with Orissa High Court posting a case relating to the lawyer-police brawl to Monday.

The court adjourned the matter due to non-submission of the inquiry report by inspector general (CID-crime branch) Arun Kumar Bothra, who has been probing into the matter in pursuance of a Supreme Court direction on September 27.

The high court had fixed November 9 as deadline for the IG (CID-crime branch) to complete inquiry into the police-lawyer scuffle and submit the report.

The court had asked a sitting judge Justice C.R. Dash to “supervise” the probe on a daily basis.

Bothra, who had started his probe on October 2, on Friday sought more time to complete the inquiry after informing the court that polygraph test was necessary to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and counter allegations. He needed at least six weeks’ time to complete the process.

The division bench of Chief Justice K.S. Jhaveri and Justice K.R. Mohapatra took note of his plea, but adjourned the hearing to Monday.

During the course of hearing on Friday, it was pointed out that on November 3 police had withdrawn suspension of cops involved in the assault on the lawyer.

The bench sought submission of clarification on revoking of the suspension order when the matter is taken up on Monday. The court has been adjudicating on two PILs that have sought judicial probe into the incident.

On August 30, the deputy commissioner of police (Cuttack) had suspended havildar Prasanna Kumar Behera, constable Dillip Kumar Samal and Odisha Armed Police Force personnel Udaya Kumar Bhuyan “for misconduct” and departmental action was initiated against home guard Kishore Jena.

Subsequently, Jena was arrested and released on bail on the same day.

The high court lawyers are on indefinite strike since August 29 following the alleged assault on their colleague Debi Prasad Pattnaik near the fish market at Nuabazar on the previous day. They have been demanding arrest of the three other police personnel involved in the assault.

“We decided to continue with our strike as the state government has not taken action according to our demand so far. Our general body meeting will be held on Monday to decide on the further course of action,” secretary of Orissa High Court Bar Association Satyabrata Mohanty said.

The association condemned the withdrawal of the suspension of the police personnel involved in the assault when the matter was being inquired and pending before the court.

However, senior police officials said that revoking suspension of the police personnel was due as the three had been placed under suspension for more than 60 days.

“According to statutory rules, the suspension lasts up to 45 days. Hence their suspension was revoked. However, this does not imply that the police personnel are exonerated from the charges. The departmental inquiry by an assistant commissioner of police is on with serving of charge sheets to them. Action will be taken on the basis of the ACP’s report,” a senior police official said.