Cuttack, Sep 11
The Justice CR Pal Commission of Inquiry probing the demand in several regions either for Circuit Benches or permanent Benches of the Odisha High Court has issued notices to at least 15 witnesses asking them to depose before it in next week.
The witnesses include members of bars and some eminent persons such as educationists, legal luminaries and political leaders. These witnesses are likely to depose before the Commission on September 19 and 20. More witnesses could be summoned if the need arises, sources said.
The Commission, which was moving at a snail’s pace till the western Odisha lawyers’ agitation reached a crescendo recently, is now working on a war footing to complete its report by the end of October.
Till date, the Commission thas received about 100 statements of affidavits. It has in the meantime scrutinised about 85 per cent of the writ petitions filed in the High Court to distinguish their origins so as to ascertain whether the regions demanding HC Benches actually meet the criteria set up by the Justice Yashwant Singh report on the subject, sources added.
According to Justice Yashwant Singh report, if one-third of the total cases filed in the High Court are from a particular region, then it merits to have a bench of the HC.
It may be noted that the Justice Pal Commission was set up in 2008 and was asked by the government to prepare a report on the matter within six months.
The Commission, however, has had ten extensions and the last extension was made in June this year for a term of six months. The Government till date has spent over Rs 1 crore towards the salary and other expenses of the commission and its staff members, sources revealed.