Nov 19, 2020

Adjournment in its literal meaning is putting off or deferring of procedures, and in a literal sense, it means that stopping judicial proceedings in mid for their resumption later on. If an adjournment is conclusive, it is said to be sine kick the bucket, "without day" or without a period fixed to continue the work. A dismissal is not quite the same as a break, which is just a brief break in procedures. An officers’ Court may defer the procedures whenever. The Court must adjust the interests of equity while thinking about any application for dismissal. The Court can’t have immovable standards for the conceding or refusal of dismissals. 

In case of courts also discussed the scope of section 151 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 concerning it inherent powers for adjournment and says that: 

  • Section 151 is an enabling provision and not a substantive course of action, and it gives power to the Court to do what is right and fix what isn't.
  • It says that the Court can use natural force in case it has not unequivocally or impliedly spread a specific procedural point of view to accomplish to the case.
  • It says that section 151 can't be used to do such things which are declined by law or code and powers under section 151 must be used with caution and precision.

Adjournment limit: Court on provided with bonafide explanations at any time of suit may grant for social events or to any of them, may suspend the knowledge of suit for motivators to be recorded as a hard copy. Given that no deferment will be allowed multiple occasions to a gathering during the becoming aware of the suit.

Costs of adjournment: 1) when it has begun it will continue till statements of all witnesses are recorded. 2) No dismissal will be given unless conditions are out of control of all together. 3) Pleader being busy with another event will not be ground for the delay. 

Effects of Adjournment: Adjournments contribute to delay in the disposal of cases. They even contribute to hardship, inconvenience and expense to the parties and the witnesses. The witness has no stake in the case and comes to assist the Court to dispense justice. He sacrifices his time and convenience for this. The case is adjourned; he is required to go to the Court repeatedly. He is bound to feel unhappy and frustrated. This also allows the opposite party to threaten or induce him not to speak the truth.

Judicial views: we can see several case laws where time and again, the Judiciary has condemned this practice of delaying used by the lawyers. Such as in the case of Unit Traders v. Commissioner of Customs, Madras High Court observed that when there is a deliberate absence on the date of hearings, the plea of denying natural justice is not admissible. Another case of the same kind is CCE v. Techno Economic Services Pvt Ltd, Where Bombay High Court observed that despite multiple engaging advocates, adjournments are sought, which result in payment of hefty professional charges to the advocates appearing for the department, from these cases, we can see that courts are condemning the practice of adjournment. Still, on the other hand, there are several examples when courts give adjournment on frivolous reasons such as one has to join as the procession to exercise their democratic rights and courts grant an adjournment. Another such example is when adjournment is asked due to reason of the car being stolen, and documents of the case were in the car only. 

Safeguard against adjournment which is provided under Order XVII Rule 1 of Code of Civil Procedure that in a civil case adjournment can be provided only three times, but this provision is also challenged in Salem Advocate Bar Assoc. v. Union of India the provision limiting adjournments cannot be held to be ultra vires or unconstitutional in some extreme case it may become necessary to grant adjournment despite the fact of three adjournments have already been granted like the example of Bhopal gas tragedy, riots and other extremely serious matter then Court can grant an adjournment.

Such is the brutal reality of the Adjournment Culture that is slowly but steadily creeping its way into the judicial system. The uninformed litigants who start their litigation journey and whose only source of knowledge are their lawyers on whom they are solely dependent, end up spending time and money well beyond their imagination and resources. Adjournment which is a notorious problem in the functioning of the civil proceeding and criminal proceeding this rule of giving adjournment is a discretion of a court to grant time to parties with sufficient cause see if there is any sufficient cause, then the only Court can grant an adjournment. What needs to be done in that specific time limits should be set for filing of certain documents. The same action needs to be taken in the hearing of cases. Matters should be made specifically time-bound. Enforcing this will discourage judges from granting adjournments as well as advocates from seeking it. Lawyers should take responsibility on their shoulders and advise their clients against seeking adjournments and help the courts in speeding up matters. By implementing these provisions, not only the burden of courts will reduce, but it will also help impart timely justice to the citizens of the country.