AN ORDER passed by a single bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court detailing an advocate’s request for adjournment on the presumption of the court’s “bad mood” went viral on Internet on Thursday. What preceded the unusual request was dismissal of at least four other cases by the bench.
In the order passed on February 4, Justice Rajiv Narain Raina said: “Counsel assuming the mood of the Court is bad this morning dismissing the first four urgent cases one after the other with orders dictated in court, prays that time may be granted to him to argue the case on some other day. I grant permission for an adjournment, but not without saying that those cases were not worth admission.”
On Thursday, the case was again adjourned on the counsel’s request before a different single bench.
While the young advocate, who is in his fifth year of practice, declined to comment, saying it was a matter between the bar and the bench, the orders passed by the bench show how the events unfolded that day.
The case listed at number 1 in the cause list was simply adjourned. Case number 2, which was heard by the bench on that date, was not only dismissed for being “frivolous”, but the petitioner — Haryana State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank — was also directed to pay more interest to an employee from whom an amount of Rs 50,723 had been recovered violating principles of natural justice. The Court also imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on the bank for filing the appeal and ordered the amount be paid to that retired employee.
The order copy of the case listed third in the cause list was not available, but it was not dismissed.
Another case, listed at number 4 that day, filed by a Punjab Police official against forfeiture of five years of service and denial of promotion was dismissed.
Another case, listed fifth and dismissed by the judge, was of an education volunteer in a school run by Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. While the court ruled that he was a contractual employee who could be dealt with according to the pleasure of the employer, it also noted, “I refrain from going into the words recorded in the note so that they do not come in this order to be read publicly against him in his future life.”
The sixth case, preceding the young advocate’s case, was a civil revision petition. The order shows an application was allowed, but the main case was adjourned. It was after this that the young advocate pleaded for adjournment and had his request granted.
Justice Raina, who passed this order is known for being candid and shares light moments. When an advocate in November 2017 sought adjournment in a case on ground of respondent party’s marriage, he not only acceded, but also ensured to put on record the court’s wish of “happiness” for the couple.
In a stay order passed in December 2017 in land acquisition case, the judge said, “Mr Toor (advocate representing Amritsar Improvement Trust) will hold his horses not only at the Trust, but also at his farm.”
A lawyer since 1982, Justice Raina was elevated to the bench in 2011 and made permanent in 2014. He is set to retire in July.
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