The Supreme Court has set up a committee of judges for preparing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for lawyers seeking adjournment of proceedings and the committee has also invited suggestions of the Bar and other stakeholders on the issue.
The committee was constituted after the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association raised concern over circulars issued by the Supreme Court about discontinuation of the practice of circulation of adjournment slips.
On December 5 and 22, the top court had issued two circulars regarding discontinuation of the practice.
The Supreme Court Bar Association has requested all its members to share their suggestions by January 2, 2024 regarding legitimate grounds for seeking adjournments.
“Our President (SCBA president Adish Aggarwala) along with executive committee members will appear and mention before the Chief Justice of India on January 2, 2024 at 10.30 am regarding the continuance of existing practice of circulating letter for adjournment,” Rohit Pandey, Honorary Secretary of SCBA said.
The Supreme Court in it’s December 5 circular had stated, “In order to accommodate the request of listing maximum number of cases in the interest of litigants and in view of the ensuing winter vacation, all stakeholders to note that the practice of circulating adjournment slips/letters is discontinued with immediate effect till December 15, 2023. In case of any genuine difficulty, a request for adjournment can be made before the Court concerned.”
It issued another circular on December 22 after some bar associations raised their concern.
The December 22 said,” In light of the request of SCBA and SCAORA with regard to continuation of circulation of adjournments slips, the Competent Authority has been pleased to constitute a Committee of Judges for preparing a Standard Operating Procedure after inviting suggestions of the Bar & all stakeholders and for working further modalities.”
In the meanwhile, the practice of circulation of adjournment slips stands discontinued till further orders, the circular added.
Earlier, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had urged lawyers to not seek adjournments in fresh matters, saying he does not want the Supreme Court to become a “tareekh pe tareekh” court as such deferment defeats the trust of citizens.
“I request the members of the Bar not to file adjournment slips unless it is necessary. I don’t want this court to become a ‘tareekh pe tareekh’ court… It doesn’t send a good image of our court,” the CJI had said on November 3.
In September 2022, Justice Chandrachud, while presiding over a two-judge bench, had refused to adjourn a matter saying, “We don’t want the Supreme Court to be a ‘tareekh pe tareekh’ court. We want to change this perception.”
In July 2021 also he told a lawyer who sought adjournment, “We are not a tareekh pe tareekh court. We are a hearing court. So please argue.”
(With inputs from ANI)