Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 28:
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today assured a delegation of striking lawyers to have a fresh look at the recent Cabinet decision on abolition of Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT).
A delegation of the Odisha State Bar Council, led by its chairman Manas Mohapatra, today met the Chief Minister at the state secretariat here and submitted a memorandum seeking revocation of the Cabinet decision.
“We submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister on behalf of the lawyers. The Chief Minister said he will look into it afresh and after examining the Cabinet decision will let us know,” Mohapatra said.
Law Minister Arun Sahu, who was present during the delegation’s meeting with the Chief Minister, said: “The Chief Minister said whatever best is possible will be done. Under the circumstances, all lawyers are requested to join work.”
Meanwhile, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has written to Minister of State of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Dr Jitendra Singh to consider the proposal of the state government to abolish OAT in the context of the issues raised by Bar Associations and also keeping in mind the interests of the state government employees.
“The Tribunal was established in line with the concept of Central Administrative Tribunal and was tasked with the responsibility of adjudicating disputes relating to service matters of state government employees. In fact, the abolition of the SAT would force the employees to approach the High Court by way of writ petitions, which would further add to the burden of pendency before the court. This will also deprive the employees of the state government from taking advantage of a cost effective and alternative dispute resolution mechanism,” Pradhan said in the letter.
Notably, all 110 bar associations across the state and 35 government organisations today boycotted court proceedings protesting against government’s decision to abolish OAT. The High Court bar also joined the stir to express solidarity with the OAT lawyers.