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CJI Designate JS Khehar Fumes At “Tareekh Pe Tareekh” Fiasco As Lawyers Play Truant In Court

JUSTICE_J_S_KHEHAR

Hon’ble Jagdish Singh Khehar, who is designated as the next Chief Justice of India, is well known for his no-nonsense approach in Court.

The learned CJI designate is also well known for his firm and outspoken views.

When the learned judge was Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court he had strongly denounced the menace of corruption by lamenting that “Karnataka State is No. 1 in corruption”.

The Learned CJI designate also once bluntly advised youngsters not to join the judiciary on the ground that “Being a judge is a tough job. It is a burnout situation“. He added that serving as a Judge in the Supreme Court is “killing” owing to the immense pressure of work.

Now it is the turn of the lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court to face the heat of the stern attitude of the learned Judge.

The learned judge has sent a strong message that he will brook no requests from lawyers for adjournments on frivolous grounds.

The ET reported that an unfortunate situation arose a few days ago. A Bench president over by Justice Khehar faced the embarrassment of having to adjourn every single matter because the lawyers for the parties were either not prepared to argue the matter or requested for a pass over on the ground that their counsel was on his legs in another Court room.

What is happening? Why is everybody in a holiday mood?” Justice Khehar demanded to know in an angry tone.

Another lawyer pleaded for an adjournment on the ground that he had no papers.

Here, take my file and argue the matter,” Justice Khehar offered helpfully even as the lawyer smiled sheepishly and persisted in the request for adjournment.

Ultimately, the Court got exasperated at the sorry state of affairs and stormed off.

Call us when the lawyers are ready” the learned Judges told the Court staff as they walked away with a heavy heart.

Dushyant Dave, eminent senior advocate and president of the Bar Association, came down heavily on the lawyers for their irresponsible attitude.

“This is very unfortunate. The bar must realise that they have a responsibility towards the litigant. In any other country, you would have to face serious consequences by way of consumer court cases and complaints to the bar councils” he was quoted as saying.

Eminent Jurist Soli Sorabjee is a staunch critic of the tendency of the lawyers to seek adjournment and of the liberal attitude of the Courts to grant it. It is “utter nonsense” and the “greatest curse” he said and suggested that lawyers must be brought under the Consumer Protection Act as a way to deal with the problem. He also lamented that there are certain counsels who specialize as “adjournment counsel” and thrive on securing adjournments.

The frustrations of the public at the prevalent “adjournment culture” is immortalized in the blockbuster movie “Damini” where the protagonist laments the liberal attitude of the Court in giving “tareek pe tareek” (date after date).

The anguish is also beautifully depicted in a commercial for Greenply. Two young lawyers are arguing a matter about a buffalo which apparently caused damages to the Plaintiff, prompting him to seek damages from the owner of the buffalo. The Respondent’s demand is that the buffalo, being the alleged culprit, must be produced in court as a witness. This leads to an uproar in the court and promps the judge to adjourn the matter. Months turn to years and decades go by and the lawyers and the judge, now sprightly octogenarians, are still at the same stage at which they were at the beginning of the case. The plywood table stands mute spectator to the going-ons in the court room with the voice-over saying tongue-in-cheek “Chalta Rahe, Chalta Rahe” (It goes on and on).

Unfortunately, it does not look like things will change in a hurry.

When Chief Justice RM Lodha took over the reins he said on the very first day of his taking charge: “The culture of adjournment has to go. Seeking adjournment of scheduled hearing of cases at the drop of a hat must go. Unless a lawyer falls very ill, requests for adjournment must not be made”.

This was repeated by Hon’ble H. L. Dattu, when he was designated Chief Justice of India. He directed all Courts to “discourage the practice of frequent adjournments sought by lawyers to ensure speedy justice”.

Hon’ble Chief Justice TS Thakur also expressed the same sentiments when he shed tears at the mounting arrears in the Courts.

However, the ground reality is that the Judges are loath to take a stern stand in practice. They are reluctant to decide matters ex-parte and do end up granting adjournments. This emboldens the lawyers into believing that the threats issued by the Courts are mere lip-service and that they will still be accommodated for their frivolous requests for adjournments.

The only solution is for the Courts to turn ultra strict and start dismissing matters whenever a request for adjournment is made. This stern attitude will send the much needed signal to the advocates’ community that the Court means what it says and there will be a sea-change in their attitude!


14 comments on “CJI Designate JS Khehar Fumes At “Tareekh Pe Tareekh” Fiasco As Lawyers Play Truant In Court
  1. Bobjee kurien says:

    If the CJ designatedoesnot know how to rein in the lawyers he better vacate the Solomn seat.it ia like the Commander in Chief of army saying what can ge do if the soldiers don’t obey him!!Like wise all the heads of departments.I recall one of the chief commissionner posted in Hyderabad set right hus office in just 15 days and also put gear of the department into the authorised representatives.He was one of the most effective CCITs AP evet had.He knew how to take people head on and not lament or use strong words.

    • b.s.waghela says:

      Yes Bobjee, you are correct. Only cowards / inefficient / shirkers can speak in this manner. He has to act like a HEAD MASTER. He should keep in mind YOU HAVE TO DO OR DIE , NOT TO QUESTION WHY. This is need of the hour. Some intelligent lawyers be-fooled the Learned Judges and now Mallya is out of their bounds ? What have they done to assert their Authority ?

  2. V N KULKARNI says:

    IT DEPENDS ON WHO IS SEEKING ADJOURNMENT.THE TIME FRAME MUST BE OBSERVED.

  3. K. C.Jain says:

    Imposing cost could be a good idea. Every subsequent adjournment should entail double the cost on the lawyer. People have no respect for this class of persons.They are not accountable for their act of omissions and commissions. They are insensitive to the miseries of the litigants. They will go on strike with out reason and take the whole system to ransom.

  4. Margav says:

    He is over reacting. Judiciary is the one who has spoilt seniors with undue leniency. The moment they see, some younger advocate is arguing, their ‘Hulk’ gets woken up and the moment some senior in ‘Gown’ comes up, they start mellowing.

  5. Rajesh Bhardwaj says:

    Sir, I cannot understand why case should be “dismissed” as demanded by some if advocate seeks adjournment . That will be harsh on the client. The case should be decided on merits after noting in the order that adjournment request is rejected giving reasons for rejection of request of advocate. This would be fair to all concerned and pendency would reduce.

  6. I fully do agree with the sentiments of the Hon’ble Chief Justices and the Hon’ble Judges, but how to get rid of this menace. I am afraid, the moment this policy is adopted, the Lawyers may go on strike, so this aspect may pl. be kept in view while implementing ‘no more than 2 adjournment in any case’. Thanks

  7. RAJIV JAVERI ADVOCATE says:

    Sir wonderful article ,certain naked truth thinking no body can change, ultimately things are really changing .our judiciary is one of the best, and as said JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED so this situation if changed than pending cases will automatically reduce.God is great in India,HE has to take recourse through such JUDGES.

  8. UDAY says:

    It is but oblivious that any sensitive person will get fumed & the Hon’ble CJI is not the exception.
    The million dolor question is about similar other factors which are adversely affecting more severally – including vacancies’ of the Apex Court & High Court Judges, lack of well set Procedure etc.

    There are hundreds and thousands matters (And Advocates too) eager to be heard and decided in lieu of ” ADJOURNMENT COUNSELS”.

    It seems the Democracy is in crucial turning Point wherein the Independence of each of its pillar trying to impress other to show its superiority or dominance.

    AND this is most concern to the society at large.

    Once the Society looses it “Only ray of Hope” it will be very difficult to regain and in that case the Society at large will be clueless having NO remedial measure of Social Justice.

    Well accepting the fact of some of the lacunas in present system, it is prudent to overcome in its own way without disturbing the Independence of other Pillar

    In case of Judiciary, it can’t be compared with Legislation due to the very fact that the voice of the legislation is many a time based on emotions of the Public views at large cultivated Or molded with some political touch as was evidenced in several Enactments of laws/Act, which are subsequently scrapped &/or lost its very purpose.

    But the Judiciary, comprising Intellectual and Matured dignitaries (Comparatively), having expertise in the field and vision – which reflects in Pronouncements – supposed to spear more important issued placed before them instead off petty matters – as reflected in some of the Blunt comments – (to be ignored to the effect).

    Appointment of judges, Collegian System, Transparency, well set Procedure for Appointments, Proceeding etc are the Burning Topics and not ADJOURNMENT COUNSELS.

    The Deteriorating Conviction Rate and Increasing Grave Crime Rate and Diminishing Faith and Trust on Judiciary Main Requirements of the Social Justice.

    If NOT today will be never on Tomorrow.

  9. Bobjee kurien says:

    New brooms sweep well.After some time the dirt remains

  10. b.s.waghela says:

    ADJOURNMENT COUNSELS should be debarred from practicing in Supreme Court as well High Courts. Some cases should be DISMISSED outright. For seeking Adjournments these Counsels are earning in lakhs and this unethical practice should stop.Frequent adjournments are sought to prolong the litigation. Per adjournment minimum Cost of Rs.50000/- should be levied. Successive Chief Justices are lamenting Adjournment Culture but they have not taken any action against the erring lawyers; possibly because once upon a time they were colleagues or friends or under some obligations.

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