By Devil’s Advocate
There are many judges who sit past the court timings with an intention of disposing of a few extra cases. Sounds good and many a time, several people also give the judges a pat on their backs.
However of late, it has become fatal to the cases of many litigants. The timings of the High Court are 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM and 2.30 PM to 4.30 PM. A recent trend which is oft seen is that some of the judges sit till 6 PM. The reason given is that they intend disposing of a few cases and the more the time spent on the Bench the better.
Normally the tendency is that none of the advocates nor the litigants stay back after court timings. In their absence their cases have been called out and dismissed for default or non-prosecution. It so happened the court was hearing a matter for the entire day. At 4.30 PM the list had not moved beyond serial number one. However only the next day, did many realise that after 4.30 Pm 30 matters were called out and dismissed for non-prosecution
The lawyers argue that the judges are not doing the right thing by sitting past the court hours. They also claim that there is a notification of the High Court to this effect.
The question that is to be raised is whether under the guise of disposing of cases, can judges stab the litigant on his/her back by calling out the case in their absence. I would agree that if the litigant or lawyer was absent during working hours and his case dismissed. But this is just not fair.
The court should make it clear at 4.30 PM as to how long it would continue sitting and the cases it intended taking up. The judge cannot hoodwink the litigant in this manner and claim that on that day, he disposed of 100 cases.
It is perfectly justified if the court continues to hear a matter which it could not complete at the end of court hours. The advocate and the litigant both are prepared and they would be only too happy if the court is hearing their case with a view of disposing it. But calling out the pending list after working hours without informing the advocate or the litigant is a big NO.
And if the judges think they are doing a great favour to mankind by completing so many cases, then it is time they think again. By dismissing cases for non-prosecution after court hours, they only seem to be increasing litigation time. After the case is dismissed for non-prosecution, the first thing the advocate does next morning is file a memo seeking for recalling of the order. A good ten minutes goes into this, which in my view is a waste of time. And mind you, he wouldn’t be the only advocate filing the memo. There will be 20 others. So calculate for yourself the amount of time wasted.
Some advise for My Lords
-Intimate the litigant in advance if the court would continue session after working hours
-Dismissed for non-prosecution should be done only if the advocate is missing during working hours
-Do not call out cases in the absence of the parties after work hours