A single-judge bench of Punjab High Court held as follows:
Nirmal Singh and Ors Vs Tarsem Singh and Ors on 01 May 2014
The High Court should not be stressed-out to deal with such a combined application compressed into one impugned order needlessly to unravel causing sheer wastage of its precious time in trying to separate what was so casually and mindlessly mixed-up in a cocktail by virtue of bad advice given by some trial lawyer to his client clubbing two disparate legal elements in a portmanteau application claiming amendment in pleadings and at the same time, in the same papers, seeking to introduce third parties in the pending litigation. Every minute of the High Court’s time squandered involves colossal expenditure which is incapable of calculation and therefore recompense. The reward of justice is none other than justice and time consumed in trying to meet it is alone its justification as an end to the means. The time required today for deciding cases of other litigants waiting desperately in the courtroom for their cause to be taken up and decided stands reduced. Poor legal advice given to a client may result in paralyzing many cases for years together causing incalculable injury to just causes needing prompt attention. But bad legal advice tendered leading to filing of interlocutory applications is a judicially unacceptable legal principle or ground itself for generosity in interference. This cannot operate as an exemption or a concession grantable to a litigant complaining that he has suffered because of ill advice to rescue an unsuspecting litigant from a predicament he may face. It has become almost a daily feature in court to wriggle out of the jamb to readily blame counsel without batting an eyelid and accept relief. If the Judge is expected to do his job so is the lawyer expected to assist the Court to the best of his ability. There is a presumption in law that a lawyer knows the law but there is no absolute presumption that a judge should know law. A judge is only called upon to balance the two sides of an argument presented before him.
But the bane is that the trial court unfortunately is not empowered to exercise summary jurisdiction of dismissal of misconceived, vexatious, frivolous, and mala fide applications designed only to obstruct the sound rhythm of a suit to achieve its target milestones within a reasonable time and bring it to fruition. Such power should deservedly be conferred on subordinate judges to deliver justice at the doorstep in limine without compromising the quality of justice delivered. But this is for Parliament to remedy and devise ways and means to achieve removal of obstructions designed to impede the life of a suit or wilt its many leaves.
Said Judge Learned Hand: “Thou shall not ration justice”
But time and energy spent in doing justice can be rationed. It can be rationalized to show better results. The trial courts can contribute in a large measure to this end by finding workable solutions thinking on their feet to do summary justice, a small example of what this case represents. The predecessor trial Judge should have returned the joint application in 2010 itself from the dais to its owner and saved valuable time of the court. He should have killed the weed before it grew. But now that has to be uprooted.
For the variety of reasons recorded above, I find no cogent ground to support the impugned order dated April 4, 2013 or to sustain it and to the contrary I think it is eminently fit to be set aside to avoid a failure of justice. It is accordingly so ordered. The matter is remitted back to the trial Judge for a re-consideration. The respondent/plaintiff is left free to file two separate applications, one under Order 6 Rule 17 and one under Order 1 Rule 10 CPC within a fortnight from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order. The defendants would file replies thereto within the next fortnight. Thereafter, the learned trial Judge would take up both the applications separately and proceed to dispose them of on merits after hearing the parties after following the rule “costs must follow the event” to its true import and meaning to compensate the aggrieved litigant of the precious time lost in what could have been resolved without any prolonged agony.
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