Bombay High Court says, practice of ‘avoiding’ judges must be deprecated

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court recently expressed its concern over the ‘tactics’ adopted by litigants and their advocates to avoid certain judges from hearing their matters. The HC accordingly said such a practice must be deprecated. A division bench of Justice Kamalkishor Tated and Justice B P Colabawalla was irked over the conduct of a lady accusing her advocate and seeking permission to disallow him to argue on behalf of her. The lady invited the ire of the judges as she had moved a plea to change the advocate after he had argued on behalf of her for several days and the arguments were at the fag end.

The judges were hearing an appeal filed by the lady’s husband challenging the orders of a Family Court and seeking a divorce from his wife. The judges heard the arguments of the counsel representing the husband for more than 20 days. The judges also heard the arguments canvassed by the lady’s counsel for nearly three days and were about to close the matter for final orders. During the course of the hearing, the lady moved an application through her counsel claiming she is ready to settle the matter with her husband and even confirmed the same before the judges. But surprisingly on the very next day, the lady moved another application seeking permission to change her advocate. She claimed her current advocate was acting against her as he had connived with her husband.

Irked over her conduct, the Justice Tated said, “We reject this application at the very outset as the matter has been fully concluded before us. Ongoing through this application, we have no doubt that sharp tactics are being adopted by the wife to avoid this Bench from hearing the matter and passing judgement.”

“We deprecate such a practice as the Judges of this Court put a lot of faith in the advocates that appear before them. They are officers of the Court and have a duty to the Court to conduct their matters in a fair manner. Bench hunting and avoiding certain judges is a practice that has to be nipped in the bud. Not only is the same unfair to the Court but also to the opposite party,” Justice Tated added. Accordingly, the judges reserved the matter for orders.

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