The Delhi High Court has observed that the culture of adjournment rampant among lawyers and the latitude shown by the Court are the two main reasons among a host of causes for pendency of cases in trial courts in the Capital.
Justice S. N. Dhingra made the observation while dismissing a petition by a woman in a divorce case challenging a trial court order dismissing her review petition that had sought one more opportunity to cross-examine her witnesses.
“This whole culture of adjournments is one of the big reasons that a case or a petition which should be decided in two or three hearings keeps pending for more than 100 hearings,’’ Justice Dhingra observed.
Expressing displeasure over the liberty shown by certain High Court judges in giving opportunities to the petitioner for cross-examination of witnesses on the ground of mercy, Justice Dhingra observed: “It is seen that these efforts of dragging cases succeed because of the latitude shown by the High Court in allowing such mercy pleas and in acceding to requests of granting one more opportunity.’’
“It looks as if there is an understanding between the Courts and the advocates that come what may, the orders of trial courts refusing adjournments shall be set aside on mercy plea and one more opportunity shall be granted,’’ he said.
“This entire unwritten procedure which is followed on the basis of previous precedents has created a bottleneck in the entire judicial system and a lot of trial courts’ efforts and time is wasted,’’ Justice Dhingra added.
Commenting on the conduct of lawyers, Justice Dhingra said: “A separate breed of advocates have cropped up who are adjournment experts and case-dragging experts. Such lawyers are deliberately engaged who put forward all kinds of excuses to see that the case is adjourned.’’
In the instant case, petitioner Puja Kakar through her counsel had sought and got several adjournments for cross-examination of her witnesses before dismissal of her review application on one flimsy ground or the other. The last ground her counsel had cited for adjournment was that the case file was lost as the car in which it was kept was stolen.