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Pass Over and Adjournment: Judicial Way to Commit Injustice

First, let us clarify what Passover and adjournment are all about. In reality, when an advocate has numerous cases in one day, he cannot attend to all of them at the same time. Naturally, in the case where he is appearing in one case, in the other matter he has to ask for an adjournment.

And pass over is also a similar kind of concept. The Hon'ble Judges take up their cases in series. If an advocate is appearing in another court on another matter, he may ask for a pass over. In that situation, after finishing the complete list of cases, the Hon'ble Judges take up the pass over matter.

Both these concepts have been incorporated into the Judiciary in order to ease the justice delivery mechanism. But actually, what is happening today can be understood from the facts narrated here below.

One day, I was waiting for my case to come. My matter was down the list, so I had no other option but to wait for my turn. I was observing the other court case.

I witnessed one child custody case. The advocate from the wife's side was asking for a pass over. This request was vehemently opposed by the husband's side. When I paid attention to the contention of the husband's advocate, the true picture that emerged was that the matter was listed for argument on the issue of custody of their son.

My husband was residing in London. He was a British citizen. His visa was going to expire in 4 days. So he had to return to London to resume his job. Many matters were listed before the Court on that day. Following the launch, the Court was divided into two parts to hear cases. As a result, once the pass was granted, there was every chance that the matter would not reach. After that, there was a one-week holiday.

The consequence of Passover was that, once Passover was granted, the issue of child custody could not have been decided. This was the reason the advocate from the husband's side was opposing that Passover vehemently. In spite of vehement opposition by the lawyer from the husband's side, the Court had no option but to grant the pass over.

And as expected, the matter could not be reached after launch. The lawyer from the wife's side was able to secure the relief for his client as the child was living with the wife and the issue of child custody remained undecided. The husband had to go back to London empty-handed.

The problem with Passover and adjournment is that there has not been any law or regulation to control this tendency of Passover and adjournment. This is why advocates use this instrumentality of pass and adjournment as a tool to secure interest in favor of their respective clients.

Although requesting a pass over and adjournment is not illegal. This concept has been part and parcel of the judiciary across the world. But there has to be some curb on it. This should not be abused by advocates in order to protect their client's interests.

A few of the legal practices that have been used to cause injustice are pass over and adjournment. There has to be some mechanism so that proper utilization of pass and adjournment can be ensured.

Written By: Ajay Amitabh Suman, IPR Advocate, Hon'ble High Court of Delhi.
Email: [email protected], 9990389539

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