NEW DELHI: To curb the practice of repeated adjournments in the cases, the Supreme Court has set a pre-condition to pay Rs 10,000 for the respondents in a case which involves an 89-year old litigant that for every adjournment they may take in future.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur expressed regret over the way the trial court was liberal in granting adjournments even though the property dispute involved a senior citizen woman fighting for over a decade. "The defendant in the suit and the petitioner before us (Surinder Kaur) is said to be about 89 years of age. It has been recorded in the order of the High Court that she is suffering from spinal tuberculosis. Under these circumstances, we are somewhat surprised that the trial court is liberally granting adjournments," stated the order.
The bench further took note of the fact that although the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a specific directive in 2015 for speeding up proceedings, the trial court remained unmoved. The apex court observed that the other side should not be allowed to have a walkover and win the case by default in case Surinder Kaur loses her battle with life due to overstretched trial and directed the trial court to expedite the hearing and decide the case as soon as possible.
"We make it clear that the trial court must hear the matter expeditiously and if any adjournment is sought on behalf of the plaintiff, it may be granted for a period not more than a week and subject to minimum costs of Rs 10,000," ordered the top court.
The case involves large chunk of lands and farmhouses in Patiala and Amritsar districts and the two sides are fighting over who is in real possession of these properties and who is the rightful owner.