Bom HC | “Impermissible and unacceptable to condemn advocates behind their back”; practice adopted by litigants applying for condonation of delay deprecated

Bombay High Court: V.M. Deshpande, J. deprecated the practice adopted by litigants while filing applications for condonation of delay whereby they make allegations against their advocates behind their back for causing the delay.

The present was a matter where the applicant had applied for condonation of delay of 20 years in filing a second appeal.

According to K.S. Motwani, Advocate for the applicant, she had entrusted her brief to her erstwhile advocate and he did not take any steps to pursue the matter. Consequently, the delay occurred inasmuch as the erstwhile advocate of the applicant did not inform her about the outcome of the litigation.

The High Court put a specific query to the applicant for whether if she tried to contact the said advocate at any point of time. The answer was in the negative. The Court said: A litigant cannot take a spacious plea that once the case is entrusted with an advocate his or her work is over and the advocate will take care of the matter. An advocate always discharges his duties on the instructions given to him by his client.”

Deprecating such practice, the court said: “It is very easy for a litigant to make allegations against an advocate behind his back. If the applicant wished to make allegations against the advocate, the applicant should have the courage to join the advocate as a party and in his presence should make an allegation against him. Here, the applicant wants to condemn the advocate behind his back. In my view, it is impermissible and unacceptable. Further, no steps are also being taken by an applicant against any advocate under the provision of the Advocates Act.”

Finding no substance in the application for condonation of 20 years delay, the Court dismissed the application.[Kanta v. Manjulbhai, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1019, decided on 18-06-2019]

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