Introduction

(L-R) Justice B.P. Routray, Justice K.R. Mohapatra (Chairman), Justice Sashikanta Mishra, Justice Chittaranjan Dash
Committee for the preparation of the Annual Report, 2022

The Annual Report of 2022, which is third such publication after 2015 aims at mirroring in brief, the activities and functioning of the High Court and the District Courts in Odisha in an all-inclusive manner. The idea is to take the reader on a journey through all that was done in the past year in the High Court and the District courts. The judiciary, which is considered as the custodian of the Constitution and the guarantor of the fundamental rights owes it to the society at large to make the functioning of its organisation transparent and known to all concerned. With the above intention in mind, the Annual Report of 2022 has been published being broadly divided into six chapters and includes a set of appendices.

The Annual Report begins with a message from the Chief Justice of the High Court, Dr. Justice S. Muralidhar. The first chapter highlights the history of the High Court and its journey through the past 75 years. It contains information on the present Judges, administrative Committees, and the registry along with an elaborate narration of the infrastructure which is being continually augmented. The noteworthy creation of the ‘Centre for Judicial Archives’ which aims at preserving the old case records having historical value along with revamping of the existing Museum of High Court to a real time ‘Museum of Justice’ have been indicated. So also the information relating to Judicial Infrastructure Management Agency (JIMA) the formation of which is a milestone in the history of the state judiciary and one of its kind in the entire country. Further, the ICT initiatives have also found space indicating how the Orissa High Court has set out a benchmark in modernising the state judiciary by creating ease of access with the help of newer technologies.

The first chapter also includes the statistics of the cases in the High Court. Information on the monthly percentage of disposal and clearance rate of the cases has been provided. Additionally, a comparative analysis has been made with regard to the judgments delivered during 2021 and 2022. A narrative on the budgetary allocations and expenditure under different heads has been given. Furthermore, information about various other activities carried out beyond the primary role of adjudication of cases undertaken by the High Court has been given including initiatives such as felicitating the employees completing 25 years of service. Information about the scheme ‘Lawyer of the year award’ has also been given.

The second chapter contains information about the allied organs of the High Court such as the Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA), the Odisha Judicial Academy (OJA) and the Centre for Judicial Archives and the Museum of Justice and the various activities undertaken by them in the past year.

The third chapter provides information about the Office of the Advocate General and the Office of the Deputy Solicitor General of India for the High Court of Orissa and the the High Court Bar Association.

The fourth chapter is an exhaustive portrayal of reports, statistical analysis, activities and achievements of the District Courts of Odisha, with a view to informing the reader of all the significant steps taken to augment the existing infrastructure of the district courts. This includes establishment of Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centres (VWDC) in all the 30 districts, provision of SCC Online to all the Judicial Officers of the State and providing ‘E- Library’ for lawyers in all the district headquarters etc. Information about the resolutions adopted in the last District Judge’s Conference held in February 2022, such as rationalization of the case load amongst officers belonging to the same cadre, establishment of paperless Courts etc have been provided. Information about the scheme ‘Lawyer of the year Award’ has also been given. The fourth chapter also includes information about best performing districts and all other statistical information and updates regarding the District Courts

Like its previous edition, the fifth chapter of the Annual Report of 2022 contains concise summaries of some of the significant judgments pronounced by the High Court of Orissa in the year 2022.

Again, as in the previous edition, a whole chapter (Chapter-VI) has been devoted to highlighting the challenges faced by the judiciary and the initiatives taken to meet them.

In order to improve the aesthetic ambience of the High Court building, artwork, including sculpture, paintings and craft work from different regions of the State has been displayed in the corridors, in the Chief Justice’s chamber and in the Judges’ lounge. A separate section, ‘Artwork in the High Court’ depicts the photographs of the artwork and a brief write up on each of them.

It is a matter of satisfaction that the Annual Report of 2021 was well received at the national level.The report’s effort to make the activities of the judiciary transparent to the people at large and the attempt at introspection, was appreciated.

The Annual Report of 2022 is, as mentioned earlier, an all-inclusive report which aims not just to highlight the achievements of the state judiciary but also brings to attention the various shortcomings, challenges and issues, which the judiciary is committed to addressing constructively for evolving a robust justice delivery mechanism.

Finally, the Committee records its appreciation of the contributions and assistance rendered by Shri Samyak Mohanty, Research Assistant and Ms. Tanuja Meghamala, Researcher (Law) in preparation of the Annual Report. The Committee also wishes to thank Mrs. Panchami Manoo Ukil for contributing the descriptive writeups of the artwork.

The Chairman and the Members of the Committee

for the preparation of the Annual Report, 2022