A Bandra-based activist has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court demanding a curb on repeated adjournments sought by lawyers during proceedings in various courts.
The PIL,filed by Anil Gidwani,raises questions over the endemic delays in the courts of law in Mumbai,including the Bombay High Court,the City Civil Court and the Small Causes Court,among others.
Adjournments are used as a weapon by unscrupulous litigants to weaken their opponents and force compromises or simply to evade the long arm of the law, Gidwani contended.
He approached the court after sending applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to the Small Causes Court and the High Court. He had sought to know the details of compliance of Order XVII of the amended Civil Procedure Code (CPC),2002,but was denied the information.
The provision in the CPC deals with adjournments for civil suits and lays down that the court should record reasons for granting adjournments in writing. The Section also lays down that no such adjournment should be granted more than three times to a party during the hearing of the suit.
Gidwani claimed that he suffered greatly due to these adjournments in the process of litigation he had pursued.
His PIL noted that there is no legal provision limiting the number of adjournments in interim matters,writ petitions and appeals from orders. Gidwani demanded that regulations need to be formulated for such proceedings as well.
He also pointed out that adjournments,in some cases,are also sought to financially weaken litigants as they sometimes need to pay advocates even for ineffective hearings.
Responding to the petition,Chief Justice Mohit Shah observed that the inadequate number of judges is also a reason for cases dragging for a long time.
The PIL demands that the civil courts in the state should adhere to the CPC and the registrars of all courts should be directed to start maintaining details of adjournments with reasons.
The case will be heard further after two weeks.