Adjournments -- When not to be granted23 May 2014
2011 DGLS(Soft.) 648 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Before :- Aftab Alam : R.M.Lodha : J J Shiv Cotex Versus Tirgun Auto Plast P. Ltd. & Ors.
2011 DGLS(Soft.) 648 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Before :- Aftab Alam : R.M.Lodha : J J Shiv Cotex Versus Tirgun Auto Plast P. Ltd. & Ors. Adjournments -- When not to be granted -- Held; No litigant has a right to abuse the procedure provided in the CPC -- Adjournments have grown like cancer corroding the entire body of justice delivery system -- It is true that cap on adjournments to a party during the hearing of the suit provided in proviso to Order 17 Rule 1 CPC is not mandatory and in a suitable case, on justifiable cause, the court may grant more than three adjournments to a party for its evidence but ordinarily the cap provided in the proviso to Order 17 Rule 1 CPC should be maintained -- When we say 'justifiable cause' what we mean to say is, a cause which is not only 'sufficient cause' as contemplated in sub-rule (1) of Order 17 CPC but a cause which makes the request for adjournment by a party during the hearing of the suit beyond three adjournments unavoidable and sort of a compelling necessity like sudden illness of the litigant or the witness or the lawyer; death in the family of any one of them; natural calamity like floods, earthquake, etc. in the area where any of these persons reside; an accident involving the litigant or the witness or the lawyer on way to the court and such like cause -- The list is only illustrative and not exhaustive -- However, the absence of the lawyer or his non-availability because of professional work in other court or elsewhere or on the ground of strike call or the change of a lawyer or the continuous illness of the lawyer (the party whom he represents must then make alternative arrangement well in advance) or similar grounds will not justify more than three adjournments to a party during the hearing of the suit -- The past conduct of a party in the conduct of the proceedings is an important circumstance which the courts must keep in view whenever a request for adjournment is made -- A party to the suit is not at liberty to proceed with the trial at its leisure and pleasure and has no right to determine when the evidence would be let in by it or the matter should be heard -- The parties to a suit -- Whether plaintiff or defendant -- Must cooperate with the court in ensuring the effective work on the date of hearing for which the matter has been fixed -- If they don't, they do so at their own peril -- Insofar as present case is concerned, if the stakes were high, the plaintiff ought to have been more serious and vigilant in prosecuting the suit and producing its evidence -- If despite three opportunities, no evidence was let in by the plaintiff, in our view, it deserved no sympathy in second appeal in exercise of power under Section 100 CPC -- We find no justification at all for the High Court in upsetting the concurrent judgment of the courts below -- The High Court was clearly in error in giving the plaintiff an opportunity to produce evidence when no justification for that course existed. [Para 16]