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Ajai Ram v. Kishan Lal - SECOND APPEAL No. 465 of 1977 [2006] RD-AH 13714 (19 August 2006)


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Court No. 9


Ajit Ram and another - Defendant-Appellants


Kishan Pal - Plaintiff-Respondent

Hon'ble Sunil Ambwani, J.

1. In this Second Appeal,  counsel for the appellant does not appear to be interested in pursuing the matter. He had sent illness slips on 28.4.2005; 5.5.2005; 18.5.2005 and 12.8.2005. No one appeared in the matter on 22.8.2005. Shri Rajesh Pathik the counsel for the appellant again  sent illness slips on 29.8.2005; 26.10.2005 and 14.12.2005. Today once again he has sent illness slip.

2. It is apparent that the counsel for the appellant  is misusing the liberty granted by this Court to get the matter adjourned on the illness slip.

3. Rules 11, 12, 13 and 15 in Chapter  VI of the High Court Rules 1952, provide for adjournment of the cases. The case may be adjourned under Rule 15 on the advocate's application to Chief Justice, if he is satisfied that such postponement is necessary on account of a marriage, death or illness or any other unavoidable or urgent reason. In civil cases, except where an adjournment is made with the consent of parties or where for insufficiency and want of notice a party has not been able to prepare itself for the hearing of the case, Rule 11 provides for grant of adjournment,  subject to imposition of cost as it may be considered fit for want of the case. Under Rule 12, the case may be adjourned on an application made to  the Bench for sufficient cause. Rule 13 provides that no party has right to have a case put up by its place in cause list owing to advocate's engagement else where.

4. Over a period of time a practice was developed in the court to grant adjournment on the illness slips sent by the learned counsels. This practice has its foundation on the  mutual understanding and relationship between


the bench and the bar, keeping in view the high traditions in which these relations were kept and honoured. The court reposes trusts on the members of the bar and adjourned the cases even on a small slip sent by learned counsel signed either by him or by his clerk  or on a oral request for adjournment of the case.

5. With the passage of time, the Court has come to realize that the practice of adjourning the cause  on illness slip is being grossly misused by  the Bar. The Civil Procedure Code 1908 was amended by Act No. 104 of 1976 and thereafter by Central Act No. 104 of 1976; Central Act No. 49 of 1999 and Central Act No. 22 of 2000 amending the CPC (Amendment) Act 1999 and bringing about drastic changes in procedure  with the object amongst others of facilitate speedy disposal of civil suits and proceedings. The Order 17 Rule 1 was amended provides for adjournment on sufficient cause shown at any stage of the suit for the reasons to be recorded in writing. The proviso to Rule 1 of Order 17 now mandates that  such adjournments shall not be granted for more than three times during  the hearing of the suit. The costs to be paid for   adjournments under sub Rule (ii) and Section 35 (b) have tried to make adjournments only on very exceptional grounds.

6. In the present case the practice honoured by the court to grant adjournment of illness slip has been grossly abused. Learned counsel for appellant has got the case adjourned on eight occasions. The case was listed for hearing in the year 2003.  Since then the counsel for the appellant has used the illness slips to get it adjourned. The long standing understanding based on traditions has been breached with impunity. The appellant is no  longer entitled to adjourn the case.

7. The Court is pained to observe that on Fridays the counsels for reasons best known to them, do not choose to appear and that many Courts have to rise after a few hours due to illness slips  sent by most of the


counsels appearing on either side. Even young counsels have adopted this practice, which is now virtually obstructing the functioning of the Court.

8. Learned counsel holding brief of Shri G.N. Varma, learned counsel  for respondent is  present in court. The explanation to Order 41 Rule 17 (i) prohibits the court to hear the appeal on the merit.

9. The request for adjournment on the illness slip is rejected. The  Second Appeal is consequently dismissed for want of prosecution with costs quantified to Rs. 5,000/- to be paid by the appellant to the respondents.




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