NEW DELHI: To unclog the wheels of justice from mounting pendency in courts across the National Capital Region, a Delhi High Court circular to all the six district courts has stated that any adjournment sought by any party, whether a litigant or the investigating agency, in cases will attract a monetary fine.
The step will ensure free and speedy trial, especially in cases where proceedings are stuck between deposition of witnesses and their cross-examination.
Litigant parties take long gaps between deposition of witnesses and their cross-examination on one pretext or another, which gives both parties ample opportunity to win over witnesses and reduce the trial to a mere apology. According to the circular, a trial court has to hold trial proceedings on a day-to-day basis once the witnesses start deposing and till their cross-examination is over. This will go a long way in expediting trial proceedings, which are notorious for their snails pace in a litigation-congested judiciary.
The circular has also tightened the rules for investigating agencies, and stated that any adjournment sought by them will attract a fine, which they will have to pay from their own pockets.
“Courts exist for providing business to advocates, and if advocates are busy in high courts or other courts and choose not to appear for false and lame excuses, witnesses are to suffer and the system has to suffer,” the circular stated. Under the new process, lawyers will have to cough up a fine of up to `5,000 through their litigants if they seek adjournments on unnecessary pretexts. The fine collected by courts will be deposited in NGOs, and the receipt shall be deposited on the next date of hearing. Order XVII of the Civil Procedure Code provides that only three adjournments will be granted to a party during the course of a trial.