GUNCHAND DALCHAND AND ORS. Vs. MANAKLAL JHAWAR AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Gunchand Dalchand And Ors.
Manaklal Jhawar And Ors.
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T.N. Singh, J. -
(1.)SUBSTANTIAL justice or justice according to law? Indeed, 'justice' is no cloistered virtue. It is for every man and every day. It has a soothing grace for all situations. It becomes 'injustice' when dispensed brusquely. Petitioner's grievance is precisely this.
(2.)THE validity of two short orders tendered on 25.4.84 and 26.4.84 are challenged in this case. Strictly speaking, as also conceded by learned Counsel for the O. P. s, the substance of the grievance is that Order 17, Rule 1 Code of Civil Procedure has been violated by the trial court. Mr. Khatri's contention if that the provision does not apply. Why? Because, both orders appertained disposal of an application made under Section 10 read with Section 151 Code of Civil Procedure by the Defendant -revisionist. Evidently, the prayer was for stay of the suit and the application was filed on the ground of pungency of another suit in another court.
On a plain reading of the provisions of Rule 1 of Order 17, I entertain no doubt at all that the expression ''any stage of the suit" embraced within its ambit disposal of any petition filed in the course of hearing and final disposal of any suit. The question really is, when any application is filed at any stage of the suit with the object of securing an adjournment whether "sufficient cause" for allowing the prayer has been made out. According to me, therefore, it is the duty of the court to consider the sufficiency of the cause for which an adjournment is sought. If the court is not satisfied that there was "sufficient cause" to adjourn the hearing it shall be within its competence to exercise its discretion to reject the prayer. Even when the prayer is allowed the court must be satisfied, in exercising its discretion in doing so, that there existed "sufficient cause" for which progress of hearing the suit has to be deferred or adjourned. This is the minimum requirement of the rule of fair trial. Each party has the right to demand reasonable opportunity to prove its case but none has the right to stagger or stall the progress of the suit without reasonable or "sufficient" cause. There is no warrant for the proposition that prayers for adjournment made on different grounds for different purposes at different stages of any suit cannot be considered in terms of Rule 1 of Order 17. I, therefore see no force in Khatri's submission that the provisions of Order 17, Rule 1 has (sic) no application to the instant case.
(3.)HOWEVER , the facts of the case pictured in the instant application and its annexure project a glooming scenery. Indeed a very disturbing aspect of uneven dispensation of justice. (sic) is pictured in this case. My attention is drawn to the submissions made in paragraphs 4 and 6 of the petition, as also to Annexures (sic) 6, 7 and 8. Mr. Sarma for the revisionist relying thereon submits that the cause of 'justice' has suffered in the instant case though Mr. Khatri submits that what has been done by the court below is that it rendered 'substantial justice'. It appears that on 23.4.84 the revisionist as Defendant filed an application for adjournment in T.S. No. 1/84 which was pending disposal in the court of Sadar Munsirf, Tezpur. The prayer was propped up on three grounds. Firstly, the certified copy of the suit filed by the Defendant was applied for and was awaited and that the same was necessary for the hearing of the matter regarding of T.S 1/84. Secondly, Sri Haramba Sarma, Senior Counsel representing the Defendant, was suffering from eye trouble and was unable to assist the court on that date. Thirdly, the suit had been filed only in the month of January 1984 and it was not the intention of the Defendant to stall progress of the suit. Indeed, that was the first date fixed in the case for hearing of the 'stay matter' only. What bears stronger emphasis is the ancillary ground that the learned Munsiff was not taking up other cases on that date as he was under orders of transfer, before me, Counsel stressed this fact to buttress the submission on that date at least there existed ''sufficient cause" for adjourning the hearing of this case also. Because justice must be dispensed in an even manner.
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