22 Dec 2022 11:43 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has issued show cause notices to 9 Judicial Officers, seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against them for failing to dispose of a property suit instituted in 1977, despite the directions of the High Court. The bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri observed that a property dispute arose between the parties in the...
The Gujarat High Court has issued show cause notices to 9 Judicial Officers, seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against them for failing to dispose of a property suit instituted in 1977, despite the directions of the High Court.
The bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri observed that a property dispute arose between the parties in the 1970s, which culminated into filing of a suit in 1977. In an appeal filed before the Gujarat High Court in 1985, the High Court in its 2004 order had remanded the matter back to the Trial Court, directing it to conclude the proceedings latest by December 31, 2005.
While expressing shock that the directions issued by the High Court were blatantly ignored, the division bench vide its order dated 16.12.2022 had directed the Judicial Officers, who have presided over the Court of the Principal Senior Civil Judge, Anand between December, 2004 to date, to explain why the proceedings were not yet concluded.
Referring to the report submitted by the Registrar General, containing responses from the respective Judicial Officers, the Court noted that from December, 2004 to date, 16 Judicial Officers had presided in the said Court, of which 10 Judicial Officers continue to serve whereas 6 Judicial Officers had retired and 2 of them had expired. Further, the Court observed that from 27.12.2016 to date, the matter before the Trial Court was repeatedly adjourned, without assigning any reason.
The bench observed that the suit was pending in the Trial Court before Mr. Sunil Chaudhari, who is serving as a Principal Civil Judge now, from July 2015 till December 2015. However, Choudhary in his reply has stated that he was not aware of the direction issued by the High Court.
"The explanation offered by these officers, namely, the serving officers cannot be accepted and it not only requires to be deprecated and also requires to be stopped," the High Court remarked in response. It ruled that it is incumbent upon every Judicial Officer to look into the records of the case to ascertain as to whether in any particular case, there has been any direction or order issued by the higher courts.
"Hence, we call upon said Judicial Officers to file their affidavits-in-reply as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for not complying with the direction issued by this Court on 25.11.2004", it ordered.
The Court added that when the Judicial Officer is unable to conclude the proceedings within the time frame, as directed by the High Court, it must seek extension of time. The Court reckoned that none of the Judicial Officers had done so in this case.
"It is also equally important that Registry of the concerned Court, after having made an entry at the first instance about such direction issued by the High Court to the Trial Court to dispose of the suit within a time frame, has to continue such entry in the ordersheet / rojkam / record and proceedings of the case till its disposal or such order is modified or varied. If this has not been done, it would indicate the sorry state of affairs in which the matters are being dealt with by the learned trial Judges", the Court added.
The High Court has directed the Registrar General to issue a circular, mandating that in all cases where a direction to dispose of the matter in a specified time has been issued by the High Court, the direction shall continue to be reflected in the record on every date of hearing, till the matter is disposed of or till the High Court's direction is modified or varied.
Case Title: Patel Ambalal Kalidas Versus Patel Motibhai Kalidas
Counsel for the Applicant: Mr. Hemang H Parikh
Click Here To Read Order