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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


“Justice delayed is justice denied” is a well know legal maxim, meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all.  A simple statement but a very deep and profound one.  Our Hon’ble Apex Court had dealt with the aspect of delay in disposing civil cases and some remedial measures and suggestions to improve the situation.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ramrameshwari Devi and ors. V Nirmala Devi and Ors14 have dealt with the aspect of delay in disposal of civil cases and some remedial measures and suggestions to improve the situation. According to the opinion of the Supreme Court the system can be drastically changed or improved if the following steps are taken by the trial courts while dealing with the civil trials:

A. Pleadings are foundation of the claims or parties. Civil litigation is largely based on documents. It is the bounded duty and obligation of the trial judge to carefully scrutinize, check and verify the pleadings and the documents filed by the parties. This must be done immediately after civil suits are filed.

B. The Court should resort to discovery and production of documents and interrogatories at the earliest according to the object of the code. If this exercise is carefully carried out, it would focus the controversies involved in the case and help the court in arriving at truth of the matter and doing substantial justice.

C. Imposition of actual, realistic or proper costs and or ordering prosecution would go a long way in controlling the tendency of introducing false pleadings and forged and fabricated documents by the litigants. Imposition of heavy costs would also control unnecessary adjournments by the parties. In appropriate cases the courts may consider ordering prosecution otherwise it may not be possible to maintain purity and sanctity of judicial proceedings.

D. The Court must adopt realistic and pragmatic approach in granting mesne profits. The Court must carefully keep in view the ground realities while granting mesne profits.

E. The Courts should be extremely careful and cautious in granting ex-parte ad interim injunctions or stay orders. Ordinarily short notice should be issued to the defendants or respondents and only after hearing concerned parties appropriate orders should be passed.

F. Litigants who obtained ex-parte ad interim injunction on the strength of false pleading and forged documents should be adequately punished. No one should be allowed to abuse the process of the court.

G. The principle of restitution be fully applied in a pragmatic manner I order to do real and substantial justice.

H. Every case emanates from a human or a commercial problem and the court must take serious endeavor to resolve the problem within the framework of law and in accordance with the well settled principles of law and justice.

I. If in a given case, ex parte injunction is granted, then the said application for grant of injunction should be disposed of on merits, after hearing both sides as expeditiously as may be possible on a priority basis and undue adjournments should be avoided.

J. At the time of filing of the plaint, the trial court should prepare complete schedule and fix dates for all the stage so the suit, right from filing of the written statement till pronouncement of judgment and courts should strictly adhere to the said dates and the said time tables as far as possible. If any interlocutory applications is filed then the same be disposed of in between the said dates of hearings fixed in the said suit itself so that the date for the main suit may not be disturbed.

According to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, if the aforesaid steps are followed the prevailing system of adjudication of civil courts is bound to improve.

Prepared by: S. Hemanth

Advocate at Hemanth & Associates