**Bhubaneswar:** The Supreme Court of India today extended the interim protection of senior journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra till October 5. Iyer, who is embroiled in a controversy over his blasphemous remarks on Konark Sun Temple, was directed to file his plea with the Orissa High Court once it resumes work.
The apex court also issued a whip on the Orissa High Court to ensure that the Lawyers’ strike is withdrawn and court work is resumed immediately. The SC directed DG Police, Odisha to transfer the criminal case of pertaining to the Lawyer-Police fiasco to the Crime Branch.
“Iyer, who was directed by the Saket Metropolitan Court to appear before Puri Police on October 28, filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court, pleading a threat to his life in Odisha. Since the Orissa High Court Bar Association is on strike, the petitioner had moved the Supreme Court,” Senior Counsel, Supreme Court, Siba Sankar Mishra said.
Iyer has been granted interim protection till October 5 so that he can file his grievances before the High Court. Once court work is normalised, the SC order stated, Iyer can move the Orissa High Court, Mishra added. The apex court also directed Odisha Police to provide protection to Iyer, if he seeks police assistance.
On the other hand, the SC has taken serious note of the Lawyers strike in Odisha.
“We would restrain the Orissa High Court Bar Associations and other connected Associations from going on strike and to resume the court work so that no impediment is caused in the right of access to justice of any litigant and likes of the petitioner can file appropriate application before the High Court to protect their liberty and agitate their grievances,” the bench headed by Chief Justice, Justice Dipak Mishra ordered.