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History of Orissa High Court

The Highcourt of OrissaOrissa had lost its political identity during the British tenure with large part of its tract under the Bengal Presidency and a few under the Madras and the Central presidency. After the partition of Bengal on religious lines and consequent revocation of the same in 1912, Orissa and Bihar were separated from the Bengal Presidency to form a new state named the Province of Bihar. By a notification dated March 22, 1912 new province of Bihar and Orissa was formed. Even after the accord of an independent state the aforesaid province remained under the jurisdiction of Calcutta High Court.This contibued for a few more years until 9th February 1916 when the the King of England issued Letters Patent constituting High Court of Patna. Orissa was consequently placed under the jurisdiction of Patna High Court. On May 18, 1916 Circuit Court of Patna High Court for Orissa held its first sitting at Cuttack Shri Madhu Sudan Das was then the President of the Cuttack Bar Association. It his address well-coming the Circuit Court he expressed hope that the Circuit Court would become a permanent Bench for Orissa in near future.

After the demarcation of Orissa as a separate province in 1936, the demand for a separate court in the state grew. On July 26, 1938 the High Court Bar Association at Cuttack adopted a Resolution demanding a separate High Court for Orissa. Consequently a Resolution was moved in the Legislative Assembly requesting the Government to constitute a committee to examine the question of establishing a separate High Court in Orissa.

On April 1,1936 Orissa was made a separate province but no separate High Court was provided for it. On July 26, 1938 the High Court Bar Association at Cuttack adopted a Resolution demanding a separate High Court for Orissa. By Resolution dated August 19, 1942 the Law Department of the Government of Orissa appointed a committee with Shri Bira Kishore Ray as Chairman, Sri C.M.Acharya, Sri Bichitrananda Das and Dr. Narasingha Rao as members and Shri J.E.Meher as the Secretary to consider the viabilities of setting up a High Court in Orissa.

The Committee concluded

  • That the creation of a separate High Court would round off the organization of the Province and lead to more speedy and convenient administration of Justice.
  • That the cost involved is not beyond the resources of the revenue.
  • That the work for disposal is sufficient to occupy a Court of the type the Committee has suggested.

After the independence of the country and consequent reorganization of the state of orissa, the Government of India on April 30, 1948 issued Orissa High Court Order, 1948 declaring that from the 5th day of July, 1948 “ there shall be a Court of the Province of Orissa which shall be a Court of Record.” Subsequently by Orissa High Court (Amendment) Orider, 1948 issued on June 8, 1948, the date of establishment of High Court was changed from 5th of July to 26th of July, 1948.

On July 26, 1948 Orissa High Court with Shri Bira Kishore Ray as the Chief Justice and Shri B.Jagannadha Das, Shri L.Panigrahi and Shri R.L.Narasingham as Puisne Judges was inaugurated by H.J.Kania, the then Chief Justice of the Federal Court of India.

As on date, there are 14 District Courts under the jurisdiction of Orissa High Court. The strength of Judicial Officers as on the year 2006 were as follows:

OSJS (Sr Branch)     79 ( DJ/ADJ/Spl.Post)
OSJS(Jr.Branch)          43 (CJM/ACJM/Spl.Post)
OJS – I                       81  (Civil Judge-Sr.Dvn)
OJS- I            83  (Civil Judge-Jr Dvn.)
OJS – II:               191 (JMFC/JMSC)