Panaji Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Edgar Fernandes on Wednesday directed Goa Advocate-General Subodh Kantak to pay social activist Aires Rodrigues costs of Rs.500 for seeking an adjournment of the cross examination, which was scheduled for the day.
The court, on October 21 last, also imposed similar costs of Rs.500 on the Advocate-General for seeking an adjournment in the ongoing defamation suit filed by Advocate-General himself against Mr. Rodrigues.
Mr. Fernandes, while giving the Advocate-General a last opportunity, adjourned the matter to January 15 for Mr. Kantak’s further cross examination by Mr. Rodrigues. Mr. Kantak on Wednesday sought the adjournment on grounds that he was busy in the High Court.
Strongly opposing the adjournment plea, Mr. Rodrigues told the Court that Mr. Kantak was trying to delay the proceedings by seeking repeated adjournments on grounds that he is unwell, busy in the High Court, etc. He also submitted that Mr. Kantak, as a litigant by virtue of being an Advocate-General, could not seek any special treatment before the court.
Significantly, Justice N.A. Britto of the Bombay High Court had earlier ruled that Mr. Rodrigues could ask Mr. Kantak any question relating to his character, competence and conduct as an Advocate-General.
This judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court, while refusing to entertain a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the Advocate-General. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam, while refusing to entertain his SLP, directed the JMFC to expedite the proceedings of the defamation case.
The legal battle pertains to a defamation suit filed by Mr. Kantak against Mr. Rodrigues after the latter launched a tirade against Mr. Kantak, starting with the exorbitant fees allegedly being paid to the Advocate-General of Goa.