Sunday, June 24, 2018

‘A Lawyer Cannot Avoid A Judge’: Kerala HC Recalls Former CJ’s Order To Not Post Cases Of Some Lawyers Before A Particular Judge.

‘A judge can recuse from a case. A judge can avoid a lawyer. But a lawyer cannot avoid a judge ‘.The decision by former Chief Justice has been suo moto recalled by Administrative Committee headed by new Acting Chief Justice. An unusual order passed by the former Chief Justice Antony Dominic accepting the request of four lawyers not to post their cases before Justice V.Chitambaresh has been recalled by the Administrative Committee headed by the new Acting Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy.

“It creates a bad precedent and may encourage bench hunting/forum shopping”, states the decision taken by the new Administrative Committee. The decision related to cases in which Senior Advocate K. Jayakumar, Senior Advocate S.V Balakrishna Iyer, Advocate P.B.Krishnan and Advocate P.B Subramanian were appearing. Former Chief Justice Antony Dominic took this decision on May 28, a day prior to his retirement Backdrop of a missing case file. 
The unusual decision was taken in the backdrop of a missing case file. The case which is central to the controversy is Regular First Appeal [R.F.A 172/2016].The appeal arose from a decree ordering specific performance of agreement of sale. The defendants filed appeal after serving copy on the plaintiffs who had filed caveat in the High Court. The appeal was not coming up for hearing even after urgent memos were filed. The Registry informed that original files were missing. The files had to be reconstructed with photocopies. When the Bench headed by Justice Chitambaresh noticed the missing of files, it ordered enquiry by the Vigilance wing of the High Court. Enquiry report revealed that a theft had taken place. Valuable papers were missing even in the third set of RFA. Vigilance report indicated the involvement of lawyers and clerks in the missing of files. The Division Bench was about to order police investigation in the matter. But the then Administrative Committee intervened, and ordered disciplinary proceedings against staff instead.

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