The Bombay High Court has decided to take a stern stand to combat the menace of advocates seeking adjournment on frivolous grounds. It has made it clear that “No adjournments will be granted on the ground that the papers or counsel duly instructed are not available”.
Advocates in holiday mood
It may be noted that Hon’ble JS Khehar, the Chief Justice of India, has already sounded a zero-tolerance stand against adjournments on frivolous grounds.
The learned Chief Justice had to face the embarrassment of having to adjourn every single matter because the learned advocates were not ready to argue their matters.
“What is happening? Why is everybody in a holiday mood?” Justice Khehar demanded to know.
One lawyer sought adjournment on the ground that he had no papers.
“Here, take my file and argue the matter,” the learned Chief Justice said in an exasperated tone.
“Utter nonsense” and “greatest curse”
The scourge of adjournments has also irked eminent lawyers.
“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” Dushyant Dave, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association observed.
Eminent Jurist Soli Sorabjee also slammed advocates for their irresponsible attitude.
It is “utter nonsense” and the “greatest curse”, he said and opined that advocates have to be brought under the Consumer Protection Act to make them responsible to their clients.
Bombay High Court cracks whip to rein in adjournments
The Bombay High Court has decided to take a stern stand in the matter, at least for the hearing of income-tax appeals. It has been made clear vide notice dated 12th January 2017 that “No adjournments will be granted on the ground that the papers or counsel duly instructed are not available”.
The said notice reads as follows:
N O T I C E
IT IS HEREBY NOTIFIED for the information of Advocates and Parties appearing in person that as per directions issued by the Division Bench consisting of the Hon’ble Shri. Justice M. S. Sanklecha and Hon’ble Shri Justice A. K. Menon, the Registry has prepared a list of Income Tax Appeals of the year 2014 which have not yet appeared on board for admission. The list is available for inspection in the office of Registry, Room No. 107, PWD Building.
Parties and Advocates are hereby put to notice that these matters will be listed on board in due course. All concerned are requested to make note of the above matters so as to be ready as and when the matters reach. No adjournments will be granted on the ground that the papers or counsel duly instructed are not available.
Dated this 12th day of January, 2017.
(D. V. Sawant)
Prothonotary &Senior Master,
High Court, O. S. Bombay.
It is hoped and prayed that the advocates will take the aforesaid warning by the High Court in the correct spirit and co-operate with the Court towards the early disposal of the long-pending appeals.