The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday made a scathing remark against lawyers who are on strike after taking fees from litigants. The Court observed that frequent strikes by lawyers are not only a waste of court time but also for taxpayers and litigants.
The Court refused to issue an order to the Divisional Commissioner Prayagraj to fix the pending appeal of 2014 within a stipulated period and dismissed the petition. A single-judge bench of Justice Vivek Kumar Birla passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Prafull Kumar.
The petition has been filed seeking a direction to the Commissioner, Allahabad Division, Allahabad to decide Appeal, Prafull Kumar Vs. State of U.P. through the District Magistrate, Allahabad within a specific period as fixed by the Court. The appeal has been pending since 2014.
The Court said that a perusal of the order-sheet right from the year 2014 reflects that except on a few dates almost throughout the lawyers were abstaining from work. Once the appeal was dismissed for want of prosecution also. It is also pertinent to note that in fact, the lawyers are so regularly abstaining from work that a rubber stamp is being used on the order sheet that the lawyers are abstaining from work.
The Court further said that this position is continuing since the year 2014 itself till date except the period during which the Court was not functioning due to Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Court stated that almost every day, a large number of Petitions are coming before the Court with similar prayers that proceedings may be decided within a time-bound period, and in most of the cases the order sheet of the case reflects the same state of affairs with only very few exceptions. This speaks a lot about sorry states of affairs in the courts below, particularly on the revenue side.
The Court observed that the Lawyers cannot take working of the Court for granted as on one hand, obviously the lawyers must have charged their professional fee and thereafter, they are abstaining from work and on the other hand, they are seeking a direction to the Court concerned to decide the case within a specific period. It is a sheer wastage of time of the Court concern and ultimately of resources, financial or otherwise, of the litigants as well of the taxpayers, as daily cost of running a Court is huge but is not serving any purpose, neither of the litigants nor of the society at large.
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The Court held that,
Further, again, on one hand, lawyers are not working, on the other hand, if such directions and/or mandamus is issued, the Court/Authority is put under the threat of Contempt of Court, if the case is not decided. This again generates litigation creating an unnecessary burden on the Court. Again the big question mark is there, for whose benefit? Maybe the same lawyer who is abstaining from work is generating this litigation, which in fact, is not serving as substantial counsel of the litigant or of the society at large.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the petition.
“Standing Counsel, as well as the Registry of the Court, is directed to sent a copy of the order to the concerned Bar Association within a period of 15 days from today so that the Bar Association and learned members of the concerned Bar Association may be sensitized about the working of the court and plight of the litigants from whom they have charged their professional fees. The registry is further directed to forward a copy of the order to all the District Judges and Commissioners of the region and Board of Revenue for being forwarded to all the Bar Associations for the purpose of sensitizing the lawyers on this issue,” the order said.