It refers to observations by various benches of Supreme Court on unholy culture of adjournments in Indian courts. But the Apex Court passes strictures only in respect of trial-courts, while adjournments and stay-orders are quite common and frequent in High Courts and even at Supreme Court also. World Justice Report on Rule of Law Index 2012 placing India at regretful 78th place in a list of 97 nations for Justice Delivery System was also a result of frequent adjournments and stay-orders in Indian courts.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Unfortunately, despite a division-bench of Supreme Court once rightly observed many petitioners after taking ex-party stay do not care for disposal of cases which they ultimately lose, system of granting liberal stay-orders is usual and common even in higher courts. Time has come when a judicial discipline may be enforced to fix some guidelines whereby adjournments and stay-orders may be exception rather than some unwritten rule at discretion of judges. Central Information Commission (CIC) should be taken as a role-model where adjournments are very rarely given. Higher courts should at least give priority for disposal of public-interest cases including cases against CIC-verdicts. There is a peculiar example of extra-long stay-order by Supreme Court now for 10th year against CIC-verdicts involving Supreme Court itself in WPC 32855 and 32856 of 2009.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)