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Taking strong exception to the fact that lawyers have started becoming “adjournment experts” these days, the Delhi High Court Thursday warned the lawyers not to adopt such tactics to drag cases.

Justice S.N. Dhingra said: “A separate breed of advocates have cropped up, who are adjournment experts and case dragging experts. Such advocates are deliberately engaged, who put forward all kinds of excuses to see that the case is adjourned. I consider that this culture has to be brought to an end.”

“A case which normally should not take more than one year in decision keeps dragging for years and years. The witnesses keep on appearing in courts and adjournments are granted in the name of strikes or in the name of elections or in the name of personal difficulty of the senior counsel or in the name of personal difficulties of briefing counsel or because the two counsel agree for adjournment. This whole culture of adjournment is one of the big reasons that a case or a petition which should be decided in two or three hearings keeps pending for more than 100 hearings.”

The court was hearing a guardianship case where the petitioner had put in an application for directing the trial court to allow her to cross examine the witnesses.

Rejecting the petitioner’s application, the court said: “Moving of applications by the petitioner at various stages is the only purpose to drag the case. A litigant has to be vigilant and has to pursue the case diligently on all hearings. Where a litigant does not appear in the court and leaves the case at the mercy of his counsel without bothering as to what different frivolous pleas were being taken by his/her counsel for adjournments is bound to suffer.”

“It is seen that these efforts of dragging the case succeed because of the attitude shown by the high court in allowing such mercy pleas and in acceding to requests of granting one more opportunity. This entire unwritten procedure which is followed on the basis of previous precedents has created bottlenecks in the entire judicial system and a lot of trial courts effort and time is wasted. Efficiency comes down,” the court said.

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