The Bombay High Court on Monday imposed a cost of Rs.15,000 on a litigant for seeking ad-interim relief and getting their matter listed in a regular contempt motion without any urgency. High Court has imposed several restrictions on functioning and working hours of all benches as a precautionary measure in order to contain the pandemic of COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus.
Justice GS Patel noted that simply imposing cost "was not enough" as the restrictions had already been notified on March 14. Court asked the registry to list the matter on June 26, 2020 and said that no opportunity will be given to the plaintiff to mention the matter for priority listing.
Notice of motion in the matter between Plaintiff Chandrakant Mulchand Shah and defendants Jiraj Developer LLP & Ors was listed for hearing. At the very outset, Justice Patel observed-
"I have already issued a notice saying that it is not necessary to mention matters for circulation and, for the convenience of the Bar and to save time, parties are allowed to put in praceipes for matters that are truly urgent and require ad-interim reliefs. The notice clearly says that if no urgency is found costs may be imposed.
There are now two possible solutions. The first is to completely withdraw the facility extended to the Bar completely and instead to require everybody to consume the better part of an hour or more mentioning matters making out a ground for urgency before circulation. Undoubtedly, several Advocates and parties will be inconvenienced, but it is the Advocates in this matter who will have to explain themselves to their colleagues because they alone bear that responsibility. The other alternative is to do what was said in the notice and to impose costs. That is preferable because others at least will not be inconvenienced."
Plaintiff's advocate Gaurav Shah then informed the bench that the client was advised not to insist yet he insisted.
"That is no answer. It is not unreasonable to expect Advocates to inform their clients of what is and is not possible or permissible, and not to act on their every wish" Court said.
Thus, the cost of Rs. 15,000 payable to St Jude India ChildCare Centres in Mumbai was imposed.
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