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HC fines advocate 5K for adjournments

MUMBAI: Deprecating the practice of lawyers seeking repeated adjournments, the Bombay high court on Friday imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 on a senior advocate for abstaining from a hearing and making a police officer wait all day in court.

A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and P D Kode said Ashok Saraogi was “in the habit of taking adjournments during the afternoon sessions” of the court. The judges were peeved as the matter was adjourned thrice before and when it came up for hearing, Saraogi’s junior sought another adjournment as her senior was in “personal difficulty and had to leave”.

Additional public prosecutor Vithal Konde Deshmukh opposed the prayer for adjournment, saying the officer from Oshiwara police station was waiting since morning. The judges said the repeated adjournments have not only affected the hearing of the case but also resulted in a “waste of precious time of the police officer and also the public prosecutor”. They agreed to another adjournment only if Saraogi paid the cost.

The judges directed Saraogi to deposit the amount in the state treasury “due to the loss caused to the police department”.

They also said if Saraogi failed to appear at the next hearing, the petition would be treated as dismissed. In the very next case that came up, the judges observed that Saraoji had sought adjournments in it four times.

The officer was present following a petition alleging police inaction and harassment and also a nexus with a builder in the redevelopment of a chawl at Anand Nagar in Jogeshwari (West).




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