RAIPUR: Have you ever reached court to attend an important hearing only to learn that it is an undeclared holiday? Blame it on the “undue” adjournment of proceedings in the district and lower courts for the day to condole the death of a lawyer working there. Now, this practice is being challenged.
However, the petitioner Vishwajeet Mitra, the president of Chhattisgarh Nagrik Sangharsh Samiti, is running from pillar to post to hire a lawyer to argue his case in the High Court. But so far no advocate is willing to support his plea scheduled to be heard on October 22.
The postponing of hearings takes place at the behest of the Bar Association, which, after holding a condolence meet, writes to the district judges requesting the suspension of all court proceedings for the day.
According to him, this led to the loss of as many as 72 working days in the last two years in the Raipur district court, besides annual court vacations and other gazetted holidays.
“I am moved by the problems and agonies faced by those reaching the courts only to find that their visit turned futile as the court didn’t function and their cases get adjourned without a hearing for another date. After the condolence meet, none of the advocates or the judge proceeds for hearing, citing the request letter of the Bar. Now, I am facing a tough time hiring a lawyer to fight my case before the High Court. Obviously the PIL goes against their set convention. It appears I will have to personally argue before the court,” Mitra told Express.
None of the practising lawyers was willing to speak on why their fraternity are not interested to argue for the PIL.
“The Bar Council of India and the state along with the Bar Associations should ponder over such a practice. The issue should be amicably discussed,” averred Faisal Rizvi, a senior criminal lawyer.
The Supreme Court stresses on a speedy trial and the expeditious disposal of pending cases, there are Lok Adalats held every two months to settle cases on fast track mode and prohibiting of strike by advocates to ensure quick disposal of lakhs of cases but on the other hand such undeclared holidays are illegal and without any written order and executed merely on a request by the Bar association on a day of condolence, Mitra asserted.