Lawyers' resort to seek unnecessary adjournments amounts to professional misconduct
Nandu alias Gandharva Singh Vs Ratiram Yadav and others
Madhya Pradesh HC, Gwalior Bench
About/from the judgment:
The High Court has observed that seeking adjournments for no reason by lawyers amounts to professional misconduct.
Stating that adjournments are growing like a cancer, which is eroding the system, Justice Gurpal Singh Ahluwalia came down heavily on a lawyer who sought adjournment of a case.
The judge said advocates are not mouthpieces of their clients for the purpose of delaying court proceedings, and they have sacrosanct duty towards the court. He added that by seeking unnecessary adjournments, they were frustrating the legitimate right of one of the litigating party and thus, by adopting dilatory tactics, they are creating a situation where the litigating party may lose its faith in the judiciary.
"It is the duty of the Courts to decide the matters as early as possible, and if the lawyers refuse to co-operate with the Courts, then a time has come, where the Court would be left with no other option but to decide the matters on its own, by going through the record, and this situation would never help the litigating party and the lawyers must understand that when they have been engaged by their clients with a hope and belief, that their Counsel would place their case before the Court, in a most effective manner, then after having accepted the brief, it is the duty of the lawyer to live upto the expectation of his client, so that the faith and belief of the client on his lawyer may continue. It is also high time, when the Bar must either accept its responsibility for unnecessarily seeking adjournments, or must teach their members, that having joined the noble profession, it is the duty of every lawyer to devote full time to prepare the cases," the court said.
The court said seeking adjournments for no reason does amount to professional misconduct. It added that Bar Councils must also rise to the occasion either by issuing necessary instructions to the advocates on its roll or by taking disciplinary action against the advocate, if any complaint with regard to seeking unnecessary adjournments by the advocate is made.
"A time has come, where the Bar has to raise its standard and must fulfill the expectations of the litigating parties, for early disposal of the cases. Justice delayed justice denied. The Bar must not try to create hurdles in the justice dispensation system, by unnecessarily seeking adjournments and above all, must not try to pinch the Court, by saying that since, the adjournment has been refused, therefore, under compulsion, they are arguing the matters. Once, the lawyer has accepted the brief, then it is his bounden duty towards the institution. They have a duty towards their client, they have a duty to prepare the case and present the case properly without suppressing any fact, so that they can effectively assist the Court," the court said.
The court said it is not inclined to take any action against the lawyer who had sought adjournment even though some submissions made by the respondent's counsel in response to non-adjournment of the case were 'not in good taste' and 'beyond tolerance'. It said once the case is listed in the Cause list, then an advocate cannot refuse to argue the matter on the ground that older matters were also pending, therefore, the comparatively new matter should be adjourned, and should not be heard unless and until it becomes old.
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