The Bombay High Court on Thursday fined a petitioner Rs.25,000 for failing to adhere to the directions issued by the Court in light of the outbreak of the pandemic of coronavirus asking advocates to only mention matters that were extremely urgent in nature.
Justice KK Tated was hearing a writ petition filed by M/s Keshavlal & Company challenging an order passed by Minister, Food and Drugs Department, State of Maharashtra, Mumbai dated September 20, 2019.
Petitioner's counsel Rahul More submitted that several writ petitions filed by other petitioners are pending and stay has been granted.
"Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and order dated 20.09.2019, I do not find any urgency in the present matter. Inspite of that, Petitioner has mentioned the matter for urgent order."
Thus, cost of Rs.25,000 was imposed and the petitioner was directed to deposit the cost in the Registry within two months from today, failing which the same will be recovered as land revenue from the petitioner.
From the beginning, High Court has proactively taken steps in order to combat the spread of the deadly virus. However, certain litigants and advocates have been failing to adhere to the circulars issued by the High Court.
On March 17, Justice GS Patel had imposed a cost of Rs.15,000 on a litigant after a regular contempt petition was mentioned even though circulars of the High Court prohibiting mentioning for regular matters had already been issued. Petitioner's advocate had informed the bench that despite being told not to insist on a hearing, petitioner insisted. To this, Court observed-
"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"