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Don’t take briefs if you don’t have time to appear: Justice Gavai expresses displeasure over pleas for adjournment

Supreme Court judge Justice BR Gavai has strongly expressed his displeasure at advocates who sought adjournments and passovers at hearings.

When Court no 3 comprising Justice Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta was hearing pleas on Wednesday, the bench expressed anguish at pleas seeking passovers and adjournments in many matters listed for the day. The bench also stated its desire to rise and go back to the chamber if everyone just wanted passover or adjournments.

The bench reprimanded the attitude of the Senior Advocates, Advocates of Record. In Association Of Engineers And Ors. Vs State of Tamil Nadu, C.A. No. 4886-4888/2023, on the junior counsel for the petitioner’s plea for seeking adjournment, the bench expressed unhappiness at the number and frequency of passovers and adjournments being sought due to myriad reasons, by counsels in numerous matters all along the proceeding of the day.

The Bench also reprimanded the attitude of the Senior Advocates, Advocates of Record. “Every matter cannot be passed over or adjourned. On one hand, you make hue and cry that the matters are not being taken up. When the matters are being listed, it is the lawyers who seek adjournment and then they blame it on the judges that they do not take up the matters. The bug is passed to the judges. Then the counsels should not accept the briefs in which they cannot appear! Why do counsels accept briefs for so many Courts?”

Listed matters like Naeem Vs State of Uttar Pradesh, Crl.A. No. 1978/2022, Thakore Umedsing Nathusing Vs State of Gujarat, Crl.A. No. 250/2016, Insolvency And Bankruptcy Board Of India Vs. Satyanarayan Bankatlal Malu And Ors, Crl.A. No. 3851/2023 so on, tested the patience of the Hon’ble Bench.

In Basavaraj Yalival And Ors. Vs. State of Karnataka and Ors, Crl.A. No. 3263-3264/2023, the bench refused to accept “personal difficulty” as grounds for seeking adjournment. It observed that the junior counsel should not fill the post of a “postman” and come to seek adjournments without seeking more information from advocates they represent on what was the “personal difficulty.”

The bench, in the instant case, stated its strong desire to engage an Amicus Curiae and proceed with the hearing and to put on record that the engaged Senior Advocate along with the AOR do not have time to appear before the court. “The Advocate on Record owes some duty towards the court, and are not just postmasters for filing purpose,” the bench said.

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