The Orissa High Court has issued a press release terming the news reports about Chief Justice S. Muralidhar meeting the Chief Minister's private secretary in a closed-door meeting "fake news" at the instance of a lawyer practicing in the High Court.

The press release states that the controversial photo was taken on March 12, 2022, at the Satya Sai Seba Organisation, Bhubaneswar on the occasion of the inauguration of a three-day Free Mega Heart Camp conducted by the Sathya Sai Heart Hospital, which function was also attended by Justice M R Shah of the Supreme Court and V K Pandian.

"The photograph is taken at a time when the Guests were awaiting the arrival of Justice M. R. Shah from Puri", the press release says.

The Odisha High Court Bar Association had called for abstaining from work in the Court of Chief Justice on the issue of non-listing of important cases. It was in these circumstances that the photograph of the alleged "closed door" meeting surfaced.

The said photograph was displayed on the wall near the notice board of the Association in the High Court. The notice board that called for the boycott was put up by the Interim Committee of the Association pursuant to a General Body meeting of October 26.

An adjourned General Body is scheduled to be held at 1 pm on Monday in the HCBA Hall to review the matter. The notice board of the Association mentions that the members of the Association are requested to abstain from work in the CJ's Court.

On October 26, the General Body of the Association had unanimously resolved to remove the President and Secretary of the Association and to appoint an interim committee. The Interim Committee is headed by Advocate Guru Prasad Mohanty as the President and Advocate Dushmanta Biswal as the Working President and thirteen others as members.

The Supreme Court Collegium had on September, 28 recommended the transfer of Justice Muralidhar from the Orissa High Court as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court. However, the Center on October 11 approved the other recommendations of the Collegium except that for the transfer of Justice Muralidhar.

In February 2020, Justice Muralidhar, a then Judge of the Delhi High Court was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the same evoked opposition from the Delhi Bar. He was later elevated as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Click here to read/download the Press Release