Liberal adjournments cancerous for system

Dear Editor,

Nation witnessed Chief Justice of India becoming emotional at conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts held at Vigyan Bhan (New Delhi) on Sunday 24.04.2016 citing low number of judges in the country responsible for piling up of court-cases. Best administrator is one who can reform even in available resources.

Main cause for slow justice is unholy culture of liberal adjournments and ex-party stay-orders. Vice President Hamid Ansari rightly once commented that liberal adjournments in courts need to be taken seriously by the judiciary for reforms within. Supreme Court once bemoaned the frequent adjournments for the flimsiest of reasons in the case Shiv Cotex vs Tirgun Auto “It is sad, but true, that the litigants seek – and the courts grant – adjournments at the drop of the hat. Adjournments have grown like cancer corroding the entire body of the justice delivery system.”

Earlier also several division-benches of Supreme Court including one comprising of Justices RV Ravindran and JM Panchal in January 2009 observed that many petitioners after taking ex-party stay do not care for disposal of cases which they even ultimately lose. Union Cabinet Secretariat during a CIC-hearing on 25.04.2016 cited a stay order continuing since the year 2010 from Division Bench of Delhi High Court against single-bench verdict upholding CIC-verdict.

A division-bench of the Apex Court more than five years ago on 26.11.2010 had directed its registry to put matter of constituting a larger bench before Chief Justice of India to decide stay-order dated 24.11.2009 in SLP(C) numbers 32855 & 32856 of 2009 on various CIC-verdicts on several aspects also including making appointment-process in higher judiciary public, correspondence with Chief Justice of India etc. etc. RTI response following a CIC-verdict revealed that successive Chief Justices of India deferred constituting a larger bench with comments like ‘Put it later’, ‘Put it after vacations’. Surprisingly Supreme Court even granted stay against senior lawyers coming under purview of service-tax!

Lawyers have become habitual of seeking adjournments even at CIC-hearings where fortunately unholy culture of allowing adjournments does not exist, as was also witnessed during a division-bench hearing at CIC on 01.04.2016. It is observed that lawyers seek adjournments on flimsy grounds because of being paid separately for each of the hearing. If Chief Justice of India is really sincere for fast justice-delivery-system, he should ensure that courts may not grant liberal adjournments and ex-party stay-orders.

Heavy and exemplary costs should be imposed on parties losing the case after seeking ex-party stay orders, as a deterrent against such unholy practice virtually ruining justice-delivery-system in India. Justice Delivery System should be made so easy that ordinary citizens may be normally and ordinarily be able to contest court-cases even without lawyers.



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