Friday, February 12, 2010

Blame judges for adjournments and 3 crore pending cases!

Justice S N Dhingra of Delhi High Court believes that it is both judges and lawyers who are responsible for culture of adjournment in courts. We will come to the part where we decide who is to get more blame between judges and lawyers, but first let’s read the news below:

NEW DELHI: A Delhi high court judge has blamed his colleagues for the "culture of adjournment'' that often prolongs cases for years.

Rueing the "latitude shown by the high court'' to lawyers who plead for adjournments, justice S N Dhingra said: "It appears as if there is an understanding between the courts and advocates that come what may the orders of trial courts refusing adjournments shall be set aside on mercy pleas and one more opportunity shall be granted.''

Claiming that courts often grant adjournments on "frivolous grounds'', Dhingra said: "A separate breed of advocates has cropped up who are experts in pleading for adjournments and dragging cases. This culture has to be brought to an end,'' the HC noted, while upholding a order passed by a guardianship court in a child custody dispute between a couple. The court refused to adjourn the case when the woman's lawyer claimed that he had left the case files in his car which was stolen 11 days ago.

The last line shows the cute argument by the lawyer! If you think that a lawyer will not lie about his car being stolen, maybe you need an education in what lawyers in India can get away with. In BMW hit and run case by Nanda, the ‘well-respected’ defence lawyers who influenced a key witness and were caught in a sting operation were fined a mere Rs 2,000 by the bar council and were not allowed to take cases for 2 months. Long live bar councils! I am not saying that, lawyers are.

The HC agreed with the decision of the lower court to proceed with the hearing and close cross examination of witnesses, despite protests by the advocate of the child's mother. "Adjournments are sought in the name of strikes, elections, personal difficulties of the senior or briefing counsels or because two counsels agree to an adjournment...

Did you read the last part… two counsels agree to an adjournment… so now if you have a doubt how come your case drags on for so long, don’t just blame other party’s lawyer; it could well be your own lawyer is a willing party to this adjournment game at your expense.

This whole culture of adjournment is a major reasons why a case or a petition, which should be decided in two or three hearings, is disposed of in more than 100 hearings,'' the HC noted while dismissing the appeal filed by the child's mother against the lower court's order.

This is a damning indictment of judiciary and judges. On one hand, prime minister, law minister, and chief justice rue about 3 crore plus cases pending in courts; but if a case is dragged from 3 hearings to more than 100, even god in his next avatar cannot reclaim the judiciary from sinking down.

Since lawyers do their job in representing their clients, the majority of blame lies with judges in granting adjournments at the drop of a hat.

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