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SC judges stage walkout after lawyers pull no-show in 4 matters

Adjournment culture caused 2 SC judges to say enough is enough, and walk out of court...
Adjournment culture caused 2 SC judges to say enough is enough, and walk out of court...

In a clear message to senior lawyers that they could not take liberty with the court by making a last minute request for pass-over or adjournment of a matter listed for hearing, a Supreme Court bench on Tuesday withdrew from hearing the matters for an hour after in four of the first five matters, as junior lawyers sought pass-overs repeatedly.

Apparently piqued over junior lawyers seeking pass-over as senior counsel were not there, the bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice Arun Mishra rose saying that they would come back if lawyers representing both the sides - petitioner and respondent - in any of the first four matters were present in the court to argue their case.

It was about 15 minutes after they had withdrawn that a lawyer who was to appear in two of the first four cases arrived and the court master was asked to request the judges to return. The lawyer apologised to the bench for being late and causing inconvenience to the judges.

In a spirit of getting on with the work of the day, the bench chose not to say anything more on the issue.

The judges, on a number of occasions in the past, deprecated the practice of lawyers seeking adjournment at the last moment when the matter is called for hearing.

Even on Tuesday in another matter involving a civic body of Delhi and a discom, when an advocate sought an adjournment on the plea that the Additional Solicitor General - a government law officer - was not available and wanted accommodation beyond a particular day, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, who was one of the judges on the bench presided over by Justice Anil R Dave, told him that they were “under no compulsion to adjourn the matter. Don’t take us for granted that we will adjourn” the matter.

Senior counsel Ajit Kumar Sinha, who was present in the court when Justice Khehar and Justice Mishra decided to rise, said that in his long stint in the top court, he had tried to recall a similar thing happening in the past but couldn’t.

However, a lawyer sitting with him recalled that about two weeks back, another bench in court no 5 rose for the day after in all the 20 matters that were called either lawyers sought pass-over or adjournment.

The judges waited in their chamber for nearly an hour for the lawyers and when there was no sign of them, announced that they were rising for the day.

Another young lawyer, who said that he was present in the court room when judges decides rise for the day, said that judges were unhappy that in all 20 matters, the junior lawyers either sought pass-over or adjournments.

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