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For speedy disposal of cases, change in attitude needed: HC

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, Mar 25: There is an imminent need for change in attitude and will for the expeditious disposal of commercial suits, the Delhi High Court has observed.

The observation came while passing a slew of directions so that lawyers and litigants make efforts to expedite disposal of suits.

For speedy disposal of cases, change in attitude needed: HC

The court was deciding an application seeking permission to file certain additional documents in a commercial suit.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said though the legislature, by enacting the Commercial Courts Act, intended expeditious disposal of suits, in majority of commercial suits, applications like delayed filing of documents or condonation of delay are being filed.

The court said these applications were envisaged by the Commercial Courts Act to be an exception in such cases, rather than the norm.

"There is thus an imminent need for change in attitude and will for expeditious disposal," it said.

The judge said the effort to expedite the case, as endeavoured by the Act, cannot be only by the courts but must be by all the stakeholders, that is, litigants and counsel.

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"They are required to pay extra attention to making precise pleadings spelling out basis of claim or defence and to avoid making unnecessary pleas, which add to length of pleadings and ultimately lead to unnecessary issues being framed, evidence being led, which has no relevance at the time of final adjudication," the court said.

It said that in the beginning itself, lawyers should prepare an entire blue print of their case/ defence, including witnesses to be examined, by studying the law and judgments on the subject controversy.

The court noted certain practices, such as lack of strategy, lack of understanding of their own claim or defence, etc, which lead to unnecessary delay in disposal of commercial suits.

It also dealt with the practice of seeking time to file reply to interim applications and said highlighted that the opposite party or the advocate, out of habit, asks for time even when there is no need for a reply.

"Moreover, the law on various aspects which come up for consideration in such interim applications, is by and large settled and any counsel worth his salt knows the outcome of such applications."

"In such situations, no time should be permitted to be wasted on such applications and if the counsel knows that the application, even after reply and arguments would be allowed, should consent thereto," the court said.

"Else, the Commercial Courts Act, insofar as aimed at expediting disposal, will remain a piece of legislation only on paper," it added.

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