What Is Adjournment?
Denial of timely justice amount to denial of justice itself
. Timely disposal
of case is essential for maintaining the rule of law and providing access to
justice which is guaranteed under the fundamental right.
When the hearing of
evidence has once begun, the hearing of the suit shall be continued from day to
day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the Court
finds the adjournment of the hearing beyond the following day to be necessary
for reasons to be recorded. Adjournment is a kind of hold to a current
proceeding or postpones the proceeding to a later date.
Adjournment is entirely
discretionary, but the discretion must be exercised in a judicial and reasonable
manner not arbitrarily or with capriciousness manner No hard and fast test can
be laid down as to how this discretion should be exercised on each occasion. It
would vary according to the facts and circumstances of each case.
will be given to both the parties to present their arguments with evidence to
call witnesses or bring evidence to the court due to this adjournment will be
granted to the parties and this leaves will often be repeated by lawyer, parties
and judges this adjournment will be given for deliberately delaying the
case. The Madras High Court observed in the case of Unit Traders vs.
Commissioner of Customs- that when there is a deliberate absence on the date
of hearings the plea of denying natural justice is not admissible.
One of the most interesting arguments I encountered when I appeared as a
witness for the prosecution in a CBI case where I had sanctioned the prosecution
of a junior officer who had been found with property in excess of his known
source of income. After a few minutes of cross-examination, the lawyer told the
judge that there was a procession in the city and he wanted to exercise his
democratic right to join the procession for which he wanted adjournment of the
proceedings. The adjournment was readily granted.
The reason stated by the
writer if true then-lawyer and judges are the main show cause behind the delay
in justice to parties. Sometimes even the parties because when the call for the
hearing they will not appear then the court will dismiss the suit or pass an ex parte decree. Then the procedure of O.IX of civil Procedure Code will be
applied. 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 Is The Effect Of Adjournment?
Adjournment affect the whole system of law or the whole system of justice there
will be a notorious problem is affecting the functioning of the court this
malady will erode the confidence of the people in the judiciary. Adjournment
cannot be claimed as of right, as the adjournment is in the discretion of the
Court and cannot be claimed as a right. Adjournments contribute to delays in
the disposal of cases. They also 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.
If the case is adjourned he is required to go to the court
repeatedly. He is bound to feel unhappy and frustrated. This also gives an
opportunity to the opposite party to threaten or induce him not to speak the
truth. Adjournment considerably a delay in a suit even after amendments of Civil
Procedure Code which restricts that no adjournment shall be granted more than
three times. At present applications for adjournments are made in the apex
court on grounds which would have been unthinkable before and which, if made,
would have met with a thundering rejection. Today adjournments are the order of
This practice must stop even though it may make the judge unpopular.
Judges are not participating in a popularity contest. As an article by IIM
Calcutta states about the Adjournment There is a huge delay due to the processes
of court functioning during the trial stage for reasons namely non-attendance of
witnesses, non-appearance of lawyers, lengthy oral arguments, arbitrary
adjournments and delayed judgments, the study said. Adjournment for even
passing judgment took an average nine weeks, while court holidays and strikes
consumed about five weeks. Then there were other causes of delay such as the
absence of lawyers of both plaintiff and the defendant and quite often, court
entertaining requests for postponement due to delay in producing the required
The lawyers must not forget, that by seeking unnecessary adjournments, they are
frustrating the legitimate right of one of the litigating party and thus by
adopting dilatory tactics, they are creating a situation, where the litigating
party may lose its faith in the judiciary. It is the duty of the courts to
decide the matters as early as possible, and if the lawyers refuse to co-operate
with the courts, then a time has come, where the court would be left with no
option but to decide the matters on its own, by going through the record, and
this situation would never help the litigating party.
How Civil Procedure Code Attempt To Answer Adjournment?
Amendment Act 1999 (w.e.f 1-7-2002) some and most important medication has been
amended with respect to O.XVII Rule 1 it has become obligatory for the court to
record the reasons for adjournments of the hearing and restricts at the number
of adjournments to three only during the hearing the suit. A civil suit should
be decided at the earliest and in any case within one year from the date of its
institution. But the suit will continue more than 3 years even after so many
precedents this rule is not following by judiciary.
This provision was
challenged in the case of Salem Advocate Bar Assoc. v. Union of India
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.
While considering the factor
necessary to keep in mind the legislative intent to restrict the grant of
adjournments. Even the committee hold by Justice V.S Malimath made a
recommendation on adjournment in criminal and civil reform that adjournment
should be granted only when the court finds it necessary and reason should be
recorded to give adjournment this condition is not followed the Committee
proposed an Arrears Eradication Scheme
to tackle cases that are pending for
more than two years. Under the scheme, such cases will be settled through Lok
Adalats on a priority basis. These cases will be heard on a day-to-day basis and
no adjournment shall be permitted .
Adjournments which a notorious problem in the functioning of courts by granting
time to parties without sufficient cause then this is a mistake on part of
judges they do have a discretion they can pass any order which they think fit so
even if the parties are not appearing the court can dismiss or pass an ex parte
decree. Even this is not working a reasonable amount should be imposed wherever
court deems fit so. The deliberate intention is to delay the matter which is
present before the court of law.
The reason will be stated by parties, a lawyer on the ground that sudden illness
or physical ailment for that fact evidence will be given that evidence should
properly examine if there is any proof that evidence which was given was false
immediate action should be taken against them in terms of fine or misleading
court of law or wasting court time can be considered as willful disobedience of
the process of court. By concluding the fact that adjudicator or the court
should see that there should not be any undue advantage of adjournment by giving
- Provisio to R 1 O.17 Kishan Lal Gupta v. Dujodwala Industries, AIR 1977
- Makbul v. Sidik, A 1966 Or 41
- Unit Traders vs. Commissioner of Customs 2012(281) ELT659 (Mad.
- Mukhopadhyay, S. (2019). Adjournment should not be used to cause delay.
[online] Business-standard.com. Available at: https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/adjournment-should-not-be-used-to-cause-delay-113063000518_1.html
[Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].
- Chandra Prakash Ojha v. District Judge Barielly, AIR 2004 All 204.
- SORABJEE, SOLI J. Role of the Judiciary—Boon or Bane? India
International Centre Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 3, 1993, pp. 1–17. JSTOR,
www.jstor.org/stable/23003966. [Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].
- News, I. (2019). What delays the delivery of justice in lower courts?
IIM study finds out | India News - Times of India. [online] The Times of
India. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/what-delays-delivery-of-justice-in-lower-courts-iim-study-finds-out/articleshow/71679266.cms
[Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].
- SANJAY PINTO, ‘Time' for adjournments running out? Deccan Chronicle
(last visited Oct 22, 2019).
- Anita Bhandari v. Union of India, 2003 (2) Guj LR 1093
- Salem Advocate Bar Assoc. v. Union of India, AIR 2005 SC 3353.
- Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System Government of India,
Ministry of Home Affairs headed by Justice V.S Malimath.