‘Tarikh pe tithi’ will not work… Supreme Court has changed a lot under the new CJI, told the junior lawyer – if you are not a senior, then argue yourself
The Supreme Court was generally lenient in this regard, especially in the case of senior lawyers when they could not appear in court on several occasions due to preoccupation with some other matter. But the court made it clear on Monday that the hearing will not be postponed. He asked a senior advocate not to embarrass the bench by demanding postponement of the hearing. This change in the stand of the Supreme Court has come under the new CJI UU Lalit, who took charge last month.
The CJI-led bench is setting an example by rejecting the applications seeking postponement of the hearing. If senior advocates are not present in a case, junior lawyers or advocates-on-record are being asked to present their arguments. The same stand is being adopted by the rest of the benches as well. CJI UU Lalit, Justice S. A bench of Ravindra Bhat and JB Pardiwala turned down the repeated demand of a senior advocate to postpone the hearing of the case for a day. The advocate had applied in writing that the hearing be held on Tuesday instead of Monday as he has not been able to prepare the case yet.
Don’t embarrass us: Supreme Court
The bench vehemently rejected the demand of adjournment of the hearing of the senior advocate and asked him to argue. The court said, ‘Don’t put us in a position of embarrassment. Don’t embarrass us.’ After the Bench’s advice, the Advocate started the debate. The matter was related to insider trading. The hearing was completed and the order in the matter was also passed. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition.
Similarly, a junior lawyer sought adjournment of the hearing on the ground that senior advocate was not available. But the CJI-led bench insisted that he (junior lawyer) should himself argue in the case. When the lawyer sought a short date, the bench said that the short date meant only a concession that the hearing be held at the end of the day. This does not mean that any other date should be given. In that case also the Bench heard and ordered.
In fact, just after taking over as the CJI, Justice Lalit insisted that judicial discipline should be maintained. Unnecessary adjustments cannot be allowed and time bound hearing of the case must be ensured. He said that the Supreme Court itself should go ahead and do this and the culture of ‘Tarikh Pe Tithi’ should end in the High Court as well as in the lower courts.
Similarly, a bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli turned down the application for deferment of hearing in a case. The bench asked the counsel to come with full preparation for the arguments in the case. The lawyer cannot assert his right to postpone the hearing.
‘Tarikh Pe Tithi’ has become a part of the general public’s ‘dictionary’ and general discourse about the Indian judicial system. About three decades ago this term was used in the film ‘Damini’. The Supreme Court has criticized the ‘date on date’ culture in many of its decisions and has repeatedly termed the demand for postponement of hearing as a gimmick from one side to delay justice to the opposite side.
In one such case, the Supreme Court had said, “Courts will have to be very slow in granting adjournment… Time has come to change the work culture and come out of the adjudication cult so that the justice delivery system of the litigants.” Don’t lose faith in me, keep faith and uphold the rule of law.