Chennai: Holding that adjournments can never be pleaded or granted as a rule and it is to be granted only on exceptional circumstances based on some justifiable reasons, the Madras high court has directed the civil courts across the state to strictly adhere to the time limit prescribed in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) for disposing of the interim applications, more specifically injunction petitions.
Justice S.M. Subramaniam gave the ruling while allowing a petition from Samba Vaidyanathan, which sought a direction to the principal district munsif, Mayiladuthurai, to dispose of the interim application within a time frame.
In his petition, Samba Vaidyanathan contended that a suit was filed by Raja Rama Varma, in which he was an opposite party, in respect of a property. In the suit, the plaintiff also sought an interim injunction and it was granted. Thereafter, the district munsif has been granting adjournments without assigning any valid reasons in a routine manner, he added.
The judge directed the district munsif to dispose of the interlocutory application within 3 weeks. The judge directed the registry to communicate this order to all the civil courts across the state of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The judge said adhering to the Code of Civil Procedure was the rule and non-adherence of the time limit prescribed in CPC in certain provisions were only exceptions. The courts were bound to consider the intention of the parties, while seeking adjournments. The intention of the parties in recent days, were certainly for the purpose of prolonging and protracting the issues, so as to gain some unlawful enrichments. Adjournments were frequently sought for either for the purpose of court/bench hunting or to harass the opposite party or to keep the matter pending for long years and to achieve their goals through other methods. Thus, the courts were bound to weigh the facts and circumstances for the purpose of granting adjou--rnments. If the intention of the parties were to prolong and protract the issues, then the court must be declined to grant adjou--rnment, more specifically, in interlocutory applications, the judge added.
The judge said few legal brains and ill-natured litigants were tempted to adopt such delay tactics by finding out certain loopholes in the judicial system. However, the courts cannot encourage such adjournments sought for by the litigants. Substa--ntial justice to the genuine litigants were denied on account of grant of such frequent and unnecessary adjournments at the instance of one of the parties to the case. The adjournments were granted without any application of mind by the courts in some occasions. Thus, the judicious applicability of mind and justifiability of granting adjournments were the mandatory requirements for the grant of adjournments.
If such legal principles were not followed by the courts, then certainly the ill-minded and ill-natured litigants will attempt to take undue advantage of the delay in judicial system and deprive the genuine litigants to get substantial justice from the court of law. “Under these circumstances, this court is of an opinion that leniency can never be a point for gant of adjournments. Mispl--aced sympathy is certainly barred. All adjournments are to be granted only on justifiable grounds and by considering the facts and circumstances of each case”, the judge added.