Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The lawyers of Berhampur have been brutally beaten up by Police as they were mounting collective pressure for establishment of a branch of Orissa High Court in that part of the State.

The lawyers of Sambalpur have already kept their demands for a branch of the High Court in their region on records.

Bhubaneswar has already witnessed a lawyers’ stir in demanding a High Court seat.

Similar demands from remote parts of Orissa have started rumbling.

But, the police assault on Berhampur lawyers has not only made lawyers of different parts of Orissa emotionally embarrassed, but also has tormented the litigant public to apprehend that it perhaps portends a judicial anarchy.

We are made to believe that stir of lawyers for a seat of High Court in their respective regions has earned stern disapproval of the High Court. But that cannot be a cause for subjecting lawyers to such a nasty treat.

If the lawyers have been building up collective pressure for a seat of the High Court in their respective regions, it is not in their personal interest, but in interest of the litigant public.

The litigant publics of Orissa are severely hit by inordinate delay in justice. Justification of delay in disposal of cases under the plea of insufficiency in numbers of judges in the High Court is itself a mockery of justice. A High Court is the highest court of justice in a state and is the controlling authority of dispensation of justice in the area under its jurisdiction. A High Court is competent to make laws as would be required in interest of justice. A High Court is competent also to issue a judicial direction to a government to carry out the judicial law it so frames. If existing judges are inadequate in Orissa High Court to dispose off cases without delay, it should formulate necessary methods to avoid delay in justice and if more judges are required it should determine the required number and make the government arrange for their appointment. Instead of doing that why should there be maintained a climate where delay in justice would be justified?

Peoples have a birthright to receive justice at the quickest possible opportunity; but in Orissa they are being compelled to tolerate enforced loss of their age and energies in waiting for the High Court decisions.

Besides O.J.C., litigants affected by decisions at lower level also prefer appeals in the High Court. The lower Court lawyer, eager to protect his/her client’s interest often prefers an appeal in the High Court.

In these or in Writ cases, whosoever prefers any litigation in the High Court, may be by own intelligence or under advice of the lawyer of the lower court, does so only through a High Court practitioner at Cuttack.

So when a case gets inordinately delayed in the High Court, the lawyer in the periphery through whom the litigant might have contacted or engaged a High Court practitioner at Cuttack is bound to be embarrassed by being required to explain his or her client the delay. On the other hand, there are brilliant lawyers in the periphery who, notwithstanding failure in the lower court, might be because of deficiency in comprehension or lack of probity on part of the concerned judge, are much more competent than many of the High Court practitioners to handle the case in the High Court, interpretation of the Law there being pivotal. In the circumstances demand for a High Court seat in Berhampur, Sambalpur and elsewhere is justified and is not averse to justice.

In fact, establishment of seats of a High Court in various regions of a State would be an act of ensuring speedy and less expensive justice to the peoples.

Demands for branches of the High Court cannot be anything other than a revolutionary expression of legal activism that aims at making justice available at doorstep.

Instead of appreciating this silent revolution, if repression goes on, judicial anarchy would spread.

Needless it is to elaborate that judicial anarchy cannot be preferred to legal activism as long as democratic sovereignty remains the creed of the country.

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