CUTTACK: A lawyer based in Odisha has sought the intervention of the Odisha High Court for tabling Justice CR Pal Commission report in the State Assembly and making it public. On March 11, 2008, the Commissioner was appointed to study and report appropriateness of setting up High Court benches other than the Principal Bench in Cuttack. The report was submitted after six years, on March 31, 2014. But, the State Government is yet to table the report in the Assembly and make it public.
The petitioner advocate Shivsankar Mohanty has pointed out that the State Government has kept the Judicial Commission’s report under wraps after spending `1.52 crore on it. As per the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, the State Government was expected to place the report in the Assembly, along with the action taken report, within six months of submission of the report to the Government.
There has been much delay in tabling the Commission’s report even as there has been growing unrest for HC benches in different parts of the State, resulting in numerous agitations by lawyers as well as cease work, the petitioner stated. Though legislators have repeatedly demanded a report on the status of the Commission report on the floor of the House, the Government has maintained silence over it.
Earlier, Mr. Mohanty had filed a PIL challenging the legal validity of the Committee formed by the State Government for consideration of permanent HC bench at other places of the State while not tabling the Justice CR Pal Commission report in the Assembly. The High Court had admitted the PIL on December 2 last year and the matter is still pending.
The Home department had constituted a five-member Committee on March 8, 2019, for consideration of various aspects for the establishment of a permanent bench of Odisha High Court in western and southern regions of the State. The committee was constituted with Additional Chief Secretary in the Home department as chairman. On August 28, 2019, the Home department through another notification reconstituted it into a six-member Committee by including the Development Commissioner as Chairman.