The saying of Gita “Awake! Arise! Oh Partha” is apt here to be stated for guidance of trial courts, said the Bench.
A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India has cautioned the Trial Courts by saying that the virus of seeking adjournment has to be controlled. The Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Rohinton F. Nariman re-iterated that the recording of evidence should be continuous and followed by arguments and decision thereon within a reasonable time. “That apart, it has also been held that the Courts should constantly endeavour to follow such a time schedule so that the purpose of amendments brought in the Code of Civil Procedure are not defeated”, the Bench added
According to Justice Dipak Misra who wrote the Judgment, “If a case ever exposed the maladroit efforts of a litigant to indulge in abuse of the process of Court, the present one is a resplendent example. The factual narration, to which we shall advert to immediately hereinafter, would limpidly show that the defendant-petitioner has endeavoured very hard to master the art of adjournment and on occasions having been successful become quite ambitious. And the ambition had no bounds; it could reach the Everestine heights or put it differently, could engulf the entire Pacific Ocean”
In this Case, the examination-in-chief continued for long and the matter was adjourned seven times. The defendant sought adjournment after adjournment for cross-examination on some pretext or the other which are really not entertainable in law. But the trial Court eventually granted permission subject to payment of costs. Regardless of the allowance extended, the defendant stood embedded on his adamantine platform and prayed for adjournment as if it was his right to seek adjournment on any ground whatsoever and on any circumstance.
Deprecating the practice the Bench held as follows:
The non-concern of the defendant-petitioner shown towards the proceedings of the Court is absolutely manifest. The disregard shown to the plaintiff's age is also visible from the marathon of interlocutory applications filed. A counsel appearing for a litigant has to have institutional responsibility. The Code of Civil Procedure so command. Applications are not to be filed on the grounds which we have referred to hereinabove and that too in such a brazen and obtrusive manner. It is wholly reprehensible. The law does not countenance it and, if we permit ourselves to say so, the professional ethics decries such practice. It is because such acts are against the majesty of law.
The Bench said that in this Case, it can indubitably be stated that the defendant-petitioner has acted in a manner to cause colossal insult to justice and to the concept of speedy disposal of civil litigation. The Court has dismissed the Special Leave Petition with a cost of Rs.50,000/- which shall be paid to the State Legal Services Authority, Karnataka. The Court also directed that the said amount shall be deposited before the trial Court within eight weeks hence, which shall do the needful to transfer it to the State Legal Services Authority and the right of defence to examine its witnesses shall stand foreclosed, if the amount is not deposited.
Read the Judgment here.