The Odisha Police has arrested 16 lawyers of Sambalpur district Bar Association for violence in a courtroom during a protest for establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court in the western Odisha town.
Violence was reported in the Sambalpur court on Monday as public, advocates, members of civil society and local outfits indulged in a scuffle with the police and ransacked the courtroom. The protesters also forcefully dragged district judge Manas Ranjan Barik from his chamber.
The violence was reported at the same time when the Supreme Court slammed the Odisha Police for its failure to provide security to judges and courts. It also asked the Odisha DGP and IGP, Northern Range for personal appearance through VC on Wednesday.
Acting on the incident, the police has arrested 16 lawyers, clamped section 144 CrPc near the court and deployed 21 platoons of police in Sambalpur town including 17 platoons near the court complex, Sambalpur SP B. Gangadhar said.
The SP said more arrests will be made in connection with Monday’s violence after examining the CCTV footage and on the basis of the video clippings of the TV news.
“If required, we will request the District Magistrate to extend the enforcement period of Section 144 of CrPC at Kacheri Chhak of Sambalpur town,” he added.
Gangadhar warned that strong action will be taken if anybody violated the prohibitory orders.
Meanwhile, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has suspended the license of 29 advocates for 18 months with immediate effect and has further suspended all the members of the Sambalpur District Bar Association till further orders, said Jajati Keshari Samatsinghar, Secretary of Odisha State Bar Council.
“We have decided to surrender our licenses. So, they suspended our licenses. As our state bar council has issued licenses to the lawyers, we examine the legality of the order issued by the BCI,” Action Committee of Sambalpur District Bar Association’s Chairman Pradeep Bohidar said.
Keeping in view the order of the Supreme Court, the Central Action Committee of all bar associations of western Odisha has decided to call off their ongoing protest over the demand for establishment of Orissa HC bench in their area.