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Adjournment of Judicial Proceeding

The Adjournment is particularly mentioned in our procedural law. In ordinary sense, the meaning of this word "adjournment" is to reschedule postponed the case for further day or time or delay or stop or give as we know "TAREEKH" to the parties of the case (ie. sort the matter out next day)

Postponement word hers means put off or delay of the case to a later time. A delay can be for a specified day or for an indefinite period. But when a delay is final, then it called as sine die, means "without a day" or without a definite time to continue the work. This made the conclusion of the regular session official. This can also be interpreted as the postponement or adjournment of a case or the suspension of a specific trial.

And The discretionary power is fully granted to the court to use power of adjournment by using this term, the court may grants time to either of the party of the case if they completely satisfied that there is sufficient cause. While, Considering adjournment is a permissive power, it is not possible to develop their own set of rules or guidelines to determine the validity of the court's discretion.

Provisions relating to adjournment are listed in Order XVII of the Civil Procedure Act 1908, but the Act does not properly mentioned the term adjournment.

Only because of some specific and logical reason, and which is very important to ensure justice court can postpone the hearing of proceedings. And without complete satisfaction court cannot make and decision.

Sometimes as we all have heard and seen that the delay of the hearing annoyed a lot of people but for the sake of justice the other side had to be given sufficient opportunity to deal with the matter.

Order XVII of the Civil Procedure Code deals with the situations in which a delay may occur and the procedure that the court must follow during the break of the session. Rule 1 of the Order says if the parties seeking adjournment and the court found that there is Completely sufficient reason or cause for the postponement then the court empowered to adjourn the case.

The following is the process and characteristics of an adjournment under Rule 1 of Order XVII:

  • Firstly every parties to the lawsuit need to file a motion for stay with the court. This means that the party requesting an adjournment of the hearing must file a complaint with the court at the commencement of the hearing in order to postpone the hearing for that day. Our judicial system has all the power to postpone the hearing. In other words, the court can also choose not to postpone the hearing. That is, the court can continue the hearing, either by delaying it for an additional day. However, the court may not stay proceedings unless requested by a party or by their representatives.
  • The party requesting an adjournment of the hearing must show reasonable grounds for requesting an adjournment of the hearing. Court hearing always schedule at least one month beforehand Both parties therefore bear a heavy burden to convince the court that the postponement is inevitable and also contrary to judicial interests.
  • Only in circumstantial situation hearing of the case can be adjourned and an application for an adjournment can be made at any time during the hearing of the complaint before the tribunal makes a decision. There is no specific step to request an extension or ineligibility period.
  • The court will record in writing the cause behind adjourning the proceedings for that particular day and also these written cause will become part of the record of the case.
  • There are number of causes for requesting an adjournment of a hearing, and Rule 1 of Order XVII allows reasons for allowing the claiming party time to prepare its case.
  • A court cannot grant the same party more than three stays for her in one proceeding. This means that the total number of deferrals a party can request is her six throughout the proceedings.
  • The court will set an additional date for hearing the complaint and will notify the parties of the date after the stay order is issued. In addition, the court, in setting the date of the next oral hearing, must also order the costs associated with the delaying of adjourning of the oral hearing.
  • As we know Adjournment is somehow exception to the standard hearing rules until the case reach to some conclusion. Adjournment is called as the last hope for the court of last resort and only if case come across to the court that situation is beyond control if parties then only court grant adjournment. CPC Rule 1 specifically states that an application may not be filed because it is used by another court to stay the application.

General procedure of adjournment

Basically in which situation adjournment can occur and procedure need to followed by the court during that situation of adjournment whole thing mentioned in Order XVII of CPC. As we know Rule 1 of the Order XVII empowers the court to adjourn a hearing in a proceeding if a party trying to seek postponement o and it shows the court that there is sufficient cause for the adjournment.

Following are the steps and characteristics of an adjournment under Rule 1 of Order XVII:

  • The party must ask the court to adjourn this as well. It means that the party who is requesting an postponement of the hearing also ask the court to do so when the hearing prosecution begins. The decision to adjourn the hearing is at the court's discretion, so the hearing may still go ahead as scheduled. However, unless one of the parties or their counsel makes a request, the court cannot adjourn a case on its own initiative.
  • The party requesting an adjournment of an hearing must offer compelling justifications for doing so.
  • The hearing may be postponed, and an adjournment request may be made at any point before the court issues its decision in the case. There is neither a bar nor a specific phase for requesting an adjournment.
  • Written reasons for adjourning the hearing for that day must be recorded by the court and be included in the record.
  • There are many reasons to ask for a hearing to be postponed, and Rule 1 acknowledges one of them as giving the parties involved more of the time to make strong respective defenses.
  • The court will not adjourn a case for the same party more than three times.
  • Only after passing the adjournment order, the judicature shall schedule a further date for the hearing of the case and shall communicate it to the parties. The court must also issue a ruling regarding the costs that must be paid as a result of the hearing being postponed in addition to setting the date of the subsequent trial.
  • Until, the court prosecution is finally resolved, adjournments constitute an exception to the general prosecution of ordinary hearings. When all other options have failed and an adjournment is necessary due to circumstances beyond the parties' control, the court should only do so. Rule 1 clearly states that a pleader cannot use the justification of being.

We all know that the Indian justice system adheres to the restatement of rule presumption of innocence, meaning is that the defendant is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. That is why, the court must hear the defendant and consider all the witnesses and pro-defendant evidence before making any decisions. The courts must render a decision only after ensuring that both parties are entirely satisfied with how the facts were presented.

Arrangement Under Criminal Procedure

Criminal Procedure Code Section 309 defines the process for requesting an adjournment, that relates to the rule of adjournment in criminal matters.

Following steps are offer by section 309:

  1. Every investigation or trial must move swiftly and without any delays.
  2. Case trials must be conducted on a daily basis.
  3. After the witness interrogation begins, it will go on every day.
  4. The petitioner or accused who requests an adjournment may pay the court's costs in exchange for the adjournment.
  5. The Court has the authority to adjourn a case for good cause after receiving notice of an offense or the start of the trial.
  6. If the accused is being held while the adjournment is being granted, the court has the authority to remand him.

When can an adjournment be approved or rejected?

Anytime, a magistrate court or officers' court may postpone the process. The Court must consider the interests of equity when evaluating any dismissal application. The Court cannot set rigid criteria for accepting concessions or rejecting dismissals.

Basically on the grounds that common procedures are ongoing and might be biased, a case shouldn't be cancelled. In the unlikely event that a purposeful observer chooses not to comply with the seeking request, you can also request an intermission and submit a request for an eyewitness summons. Additionally, you should be able to reveal that the observer made a commitment to return.

In a situation when a case get postponed, you should make sure that you and the Court agree on a scheduled date for consultation and that the observers are informed of the new date. You should think about observer accessibility before accepting a new early date

Payment of Adjournment Penalty

In each of these situations, the court will set a date for the subsequent hearings in the case and may make any requests regarding the costs incurred during the interim that it deems appropriate:
  1. After the lawsuit has been filed, regular deliberations will continue until all cooperating eyewitnesses have been examined, After the lawsuit has been filed, regular deliberations will continue until all cooperating eyewitnesses have been examined, unless the court determines that deferral of the social event after the next day is essential for major inspirations to be recorded by the court.
  2. No dismissal will be granted due to a social event, unless the circumstances are beyond the control of that together.
  3. An involvement of a lawyers of a social event's with the another Court will not be consider as cause for a delay.
  4. Where a pleader's sickness prevents him from coordinating the case in any way.
  5. The fact that the event's organizer is preoccupied with another Court will not be a reason for the delay.
  6. It can be consider as a reason to stop when a lawyer is sick or unable to coordinate the case in any way, other than because he is preoccupied with another Court. The Court shall not grant the stay unless he is satisfied that the social event calling for the delay could not have attracted another litigant in time.
  7. When an eyewitness or an observer of the case is present in Court, at any case, a social event or his lawyer is absent or the party or his lawyer, in any case, is present in the Court, is not established to examine or question the passer-by, the Court may, if it considers it appropriate, record the revelation of the observer (eye witness) and give such orders as he deems appropriate without the thorough examination (cross-examination) of the spectator, all considered, by the meeting or its litigant not present or not set up as recently referred.

Impact of an Adjournment on the time trial

As everybody knows, it is our right and the responsibility of the judiciary to bring justice quickly. Just giving justice won't help anyone and will only make things difficult for the parties, but giving justice promptly is a big deal. For instance, justice was served in the Nirbhaya case after seven years. The victim's family would have been in a lot of trouble because of this. It is just like giving justice this late is the same as giving it not at all.
  • Delays in dealing with cases due to adjournments. Additionally, they put the parties and witnesses through trouble, inconvenience, and expense.
  • The witness must present to help the court to administer justice, but he or she has no personal stake in the outcome of the case.
  • If the case is adjourned, he will be required to attend court on a regular basis, forgoing his time and convenience. He'll undoubtedly feel frustrated and unsatisfied. Additionally, it gives the opposition the chance to threaten him or convince him not to tell the truth.
  • Postponing a case results in a significant delay, even after changes to the Civil Procedure Code limited the number of adjournments allowed to three.

Justice must therefore be served as soon as possible, without any delays, and for this reason adjournments must be greatly reduced.

Some Previous case laws related to Judicial Adjournment

In the case of Sk. Makbul vs Sk. Sidik And Ors , the court, pay attention to this claim. Lawyers frequently use adjournment to purposefully delay court proceedings for tactical reasons. They use the case of a witness who has been subpoenaed by the court and is required to testify against the respondent. In order to protect his client and to defer witness testimony, the defence seeks an adjournment from the court, which is then granted.

Then court-assisting accused has his time wasted and is required to make another appearance. This arrangement may also lead to witness tampering on the part of the defence in favour of the accused. Undoubtedly, unnecessary and frequent adjournments will cause justice to be delayed. They will also cause people to lose faith in the nation's judicial system.

Ishwarlal Marli Rathod Vs Gopal and Another

In the current case, the Court noted that the defendants received about ten adjournments from the trial court between 2014 and 2019.

As a final option, the adjournment was granted with a cost.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court had upheld a lower court ruling that had barred defendants from questioning the plaintiff's witnesses after numerous adjournments, and the Bench was debating an appeal against that ruling.

The Supreme Court stated in its order that it is necessary to "change the workplace culture and get out of the adjournment culture" in order to preserve the rule of law and the confidence and trust that litigants have placed in the justice delivery system.

Courts shouldn't merely and automatically or in routine manner grant adjournments. The Supreme Court urged courts not to cause delays in the administration of justice in a statement.

The court was attempting to alter the workplace culture and escape the culture of adjournment with the aid of this case. Additionally, the judge must keep in mind his obligations to the parties involved in the case and not worry about "displeasure."

Postponement and adjournment are frequently confused and used interchangeably, but the former is a more informal method than the latter because an adjournment must be requested in writing.

Judges frequently grant parties extensions of time without good reason, which causes adjournments, a well-known problem in the operation of courts. Even if the parties don't show up, the court can dismiss the case or make an ex parte decision because judges do have discretion and can make any order they deem appropriate. The goal is to delay making a decision regarding a case that is currently in front of a court of law. Each request for an adjournment should be carefully considered by the courts. If it appears that the respondent wants to adjourn the case, appropriate case management may include refusing the adjournment.

Written By: Anjali Giri ( BALLB 5th year)

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