Lawyers Strike: SC Seeks Report From Orissa HC On Measures To Access CJ Court For Those Willing To Appear

The lawyers at Orissa High Court have been on continuous strike and the high court had initiated suo moto contempt proceedings against the same.

Aggrieved by the boycott, the Petitioner, M/s PLR Projects Ltd., had approached the Supreme Court seeking transfer of its case out of Orissa and it submitted that it was unable to seek interim remedy, since its case had been listed before the Chief Justice.

Senior Advocate Kavin Gulati submitted that the lawyers of local bar were not permitting the representation before the Chief Justice and even outside lawyers are not permitted to appear. The only exception was to party appearing in person.

Claiming that its matter was "urgent and necessary", the Petitioner sought transfer of its writ petition to the Telangana High Court, which also allegedly have jurisdiction on the matter, or any other high court. It asserted that the matter couldn't be taken up for hearing since no Advocate, even those from other courts, were being allowed to appear before the Chief Justice.

It submitted that it merely sought to be heard by the court but the said boycott had rendered it "remedy less" and it apprehended that if its case was not heard timely, it would be severely prejudiced and will suffer irreparable loss.

As per the facts of the original case, the Petitioner is a mining company which had undertaken mining on behalf of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., the Respondent. The Petitioner claimed to have completed the work within stipulated period of one year and sought clearance of its final bill and refund of the retention amount worth Rs. 99,91,593 from the Respondent .

The Respondent had allegedly retained the said amount as a precautionary measure w.r.t. a separate JV agreement between the parties. Later, the said amount was forfeited in terms of the Petitioner's default under the said JV agreement.

The Petitioner contended that the Respondent had arbitrarily forfeited the amount against the unascertained amount of risk and cost for the default committed by a 'separate entity' under a 'separate contract'.

It sought interim relief to restrain the Respondent from recovering or adjusting any further amounts due and payable to the Petitioner under contract with the Respondent or any subsidiary company of Coal India Ltd. against any dues of the JV entity.

The court has issued notices on the matter and has fixed the matter for next Tuesday, i.e, October 22.

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