Sambalpur: The agitation by lawyers over demand of establishment of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court here will continue despite the action taken by the Bar Council of India, said Pradeep Bohidar, Chairman of Action Committee of Sambalpur Bar Association.
“The agitation will not stop. It will intensify with the support of people. The Bar Council of India has issued an order cancelling the license of some agitating lawyers. However, the license was issued by the Odisha Bar Council. We will not accept the order till we get a directive in this regard from the State Bar Council. We are ready for any legal fight,” he said, adding that the suspension of license and arrest of lawyers are illegal.
“Police have failed to provide security to judges inside courtroom. It indicates their inefficiency. Yesterday’s vandalism was a fallout of police excess,” said Bohidar.
On the other hand, Jajati Keshari Samantasinghar, Secretary, Odisha Bar Council said a decision regarding the suspended lawyers will be taken in the next hearing.
Meanwhile, Sambalpur police have so far arrested 17 agitating lawyers over their alleged involvement in vandalism on the premises of the District Court here yesterday.
They have been arrested under Sections 147, 341, 323, 353, 332, 506, 186, 188 and 149 of the IPC.
The accused lawyers had allegedly resorted to vandalism inside the chamber of a district judge.
The number of arrests is likely to increase as police were examining CCTV footage of the court premises to identify others involved in the offence.
Prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC has been clamped at the Kacheri Chhak, where the lawyers had staged protest, to avoid any further untoward incident.
Action will be taken against anyone entering the prohibited area, police said.
Notably, the Bar Council of India has already suspended the ‘license of practice’ of 29 agitating lawyers for a period of 18 months. It has also suspended all members of district bar association till further orders.
The Supreme Court had yesterday directed the Odisha police to take stringent action against the lawyers who were indulged in vandalism on the court premises.
The Supreme Court passed the order after watching videos from the protest wherein it was shown to the apex court that the court premises in Sambalpur district was vandalized by the agitating lawyers.
The top court was also informed that computers and videoconferencing facilities on the court premises were damaged during the agitation.
It was submitted before the apex court that the functioning of the district court in Sambalpur has come to a standstill due to the lawyers’ agitation.