Repeated adjournment of matters 'for orders' after arguments are heard is impermissible
Y N Gupta Vs M A Ramzana
CM (M) 1827/2019
About/from the judgment:
The High Court has stated that the practice of trial courts adjourning matters repeatedly 'FOR ORDERS' and then not pronouncing orders was impermissible.
The Court has asserted that repeated adjournment of matters for orders reflected extremely poorly on the Court system as after arguments are heard, there is an obligation on courts to pass orders within a reasonable time.
An eviction petition under Section 14(1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, was filed by the Landlord (Petitioner), who was being represented through legal heirs, in respect of a shop in Connaught Place, New Delhi.
Leave to defend was sought by the Tenant, which was rejected by the Rent Controller (RC) in August, 2018.
Subsequently, execution of the eviction decree was sought and objections were filed in the eviction petition. The objections were dismissed by the RC in March, 2019.
The Tenant then filed an appeal before the Rent Control Tribunal (RCT).
Even though the Petitioner had preferred a caveat, neither was notice served upon the caveator nor was the court informed of the caveat.
Therefore, by an order dated April 2, 2019, the decree for eviction was stayed by the RCT which was presided by the District & Sessions Judge.
Eventually, on April 5, the Petitioner appeared before the court.
On April 9, after the parties were heard on the question of vacation of stay and on prayer for dismissal of appeal on the ground of non-maintainability, and orders were reserved by the Court for April 15, 2019.
Thereafter, the case was heard and adjourned for orders on almost every date.
On May 9, although the matter was listed for orders, the court stated that certain clarifications were required and adjourned it for “clarifications, if any/orders” to May 10.
In the hearing held on May 16, 2019, the appeal was heard and the matter was listed for further arguments for July 10, 2019.
Subsequently, the matter was re-heard by a new District & Sessions Judge.
After several hearings, on December 13, 2019, the case was again listed for further arguments on a date in January, 2020.
In its 12-page order passed in the petition, the Delhi High Court, at the outset, recorded,
"The practice of trial courts adjourning matters repeatedly `FOR ORDERS’ and not pronouncing orders, has attained epidemic proportions, as is being seen in several matters."Justice Singh
The Court thereafter perused the record from the RCT and stated,
“More than 10 hearings had taken place, however, the orders were yet to be pronounced.. the above chronology of events shows that despite the matter being repeatedly heard and repeatedly listed for orders on the application for vacation of stay and on maintainability, orders are not being passed by the ld. RCT.”
The Court thus iterated that it was impermissible for courts to repeatedly adjourn cases for orders after arguments are heard.
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Anil Rai v. State of Bihar (2001), the Court noted that once matters are reserved for orders, usually, the same should be pronounced within a time schedule.
It added the pronouncement of judgments in the civil case should not be permitted to go beyond two months and six weeks in any other case.
The Court observed that the practice of repeated adjournments in cases listed for orders could not be permitted as it reflected poorly on the system and litigants would lose faith.
It thus opined that once arguments are heard, the Court has an obligation to pass orders within a reasonable time.
“The repeated adjourning of matters for orders reflects extremely poorly on the Court system. Litigants would lose faith if orders are not passed by the Court after arguments are heard. Such a practice cannot be permitted. Once arguments are heard, the Court has an obligation to pass orders within a reasonable time. Repeated hearing of arguments also increases the litigation costs for litigants, as they have to incur expenses for legal representation, etc., Such a practice would also make access to justice unaffordable.”Delhi High Court
In view of the above, the Court directed the District & Sessions Judge to conclude the hearing on the date fixed in January, 2020 and pass orders within one week thereafter.
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