Courts in Orrisa including the High Court are apparently at standstill after Debi Prasanna Pattnaik, a practicing lawyer was allegedly thrashed by the police publically. Following the incident, a police vehicle parked near Revenue Divisional Commissioner’s (RDC) office was torched. Lawyers allege unnecessary use of force and mishandling of their colleague by the police. The controversy ensued after Pattnaik’s car accidentally hit two motorbikes near a market. When angry local residents were manhandling Pattnaik, the police arrived to rescue the lawyer but instead it turned into a spat between the police personnel and Pattnaik. He accuses police to have beaten him before taking him to the nearest police station.
After the severe protests by the legal fraternity, police department has suspended two of its constables and a departmental action has been initiated against a home guard. Despite the action against the police personnel involved, fury of the lawyers does not seem to abate and they are demanding immediate arrests of the accused. High Court Bar Association secretary Satyabrata Mohanty said: “We have received a communication from the DCP regarding the order of suspension and department inquiry. But our general body was not satisfied with the action as the brutal assault on the lawyer warranted arrest of the erring policemen… So we decided to continue to abstain from court work.”
Lawyers are abstaining from their work and the legal setup in Orrisa seems to be in a state of jeopardy. As a matter of fact, this is not first such instance where lawyers and policemen have come face to face. In earlier one such infamous incident, a Sub Inspector of police had shot a lawyer dead in Allahabad High Court.
Both advocates and the police form indispensible unit of the justice dispensation system and fighting it out between themselves does not only undermine the sanctity of the institution but leads to a lot of hardship to the litigants.
By- Anubhav Bijalwan
Student reporter, INBA