12 Dec 2022 10:58 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday passed orders to the State Government of Odisha and the State Police to take stringent actions against lawyers who indulged in vandalism in court premises during their strike over a long-standing demand for a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in the western part of the state, at Sambalpur. A Bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka further ordered the...
The Supreme Court on Monday passed orders to the State Government of Odisha and the State Police to take stringent actions against lawyers who indulged in vandalism in court premises during their strike over a long-standing demand for a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in the western part of the state, at Sambalpur.
A Bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka further ordered the State Government and the Director General of Police, including the Police Officer In-Charge of the Sambalpur District, to be present before the court day after tomorrow through video-conferencing, explaining what steps have been taken against the protesting lawyers.
The Bench passed the orders after watching videos from the protest wherein it was shown to the court that the entire court premises in the district was damaged by the protesting lawyers. It was also submitted before the court that all computers, VC facilities were broken and the entire premises had been ransacked.
Justice Oka inquired whether this was the situation even after the last order passed by the Supreme Court wherein the court had specifically warned the protesting lawyers to get back to work or face contempt action and suspension of license.
When the Counsel representing the protesting lawyers submitted that a solution should be found to the problems raised by the protesting lawyers, Justice Kaul remarked, "We will put all of them into custody. No solution. If a thousand people need to be arrested let them be arrested. We don't care. If this is what you do we are not going to hear."
It was also submitted before the court that the entire district court in Sambalpur is not working and has come to a standstill because of the protests since the entire court premises have been closed. It was further submitted that the situation is equally serious in several other districts in the State of Orissa.
The Bench passed the order stating, "A disturbing picture has been presented to us on the basis of the affidavit filed by the Registrar General of the High Court. The concerned video has also been shown to us…We consider the failure of the police to not take action and take the disruptive lawyers into custody and prosecute them…The state of Orissa to appear before us as to what steps are they going to take…Agitation should not be permissible within certain specified territory…We ask Director General and the Police Officer In-charge of Sambalpur district to be present before this court through video conferencing to set out what steps have been taken. We expect the Bar Council to be present before us to explain to what extent licenses have been suspended List day after tomorrow."
After passing the above order, Justice Kaul, while expressing his disappointment at the failure of the police to take action against the protesting lawyers, remarked, "Lawyers have lost their privilege. Police are expected to take action. Why are the police making polite conversations with them? Why should they not be taken into custody? If the police are not able to control it we will send the paramilitary. Please tell us whether you are able to handle it or not. Tell us. We want action by the day after tomorrow. Is it clear? Please put it up before the state government."
Justice Kaul further remarked, "There is a view that some people want SC benches somewhere. What is the size of your state? Today with technology available, what is the issue?"
Justice Oka then remarked, "On one hand you are demanding a bench of the High Court and on the other you are doing nothing to stop these illegal activities. You started it and now you are not able to stop it."
Justice Kaul further remarked, "We will never allow a bench to be set up in a place like this. We will intervene if that is the case. Such lawyers don't deserve it. The Bench should not be there at all." Further, Justice Kaul said, "If required we will put them behind bars and pass orders to the effect that they can't get out even on bail until charges are framed."
Case Title: M/s PLR Projects Private Limited v. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and Ors. [Diary No. 33859-2022]
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