High Court shocker: Case gets listed 10 years after filing

Gross delay in disposing of cases may not be peculiar to just the Madras High Court alone, but a professor from a city college experienced a different kind of delay. Her plea that was moved way back in 2009 challenging her lack of promotion got listed for the first time in 2019 after a lapse of nearly a decade.
High Court shocker: Case gets listed 10 years after filing
Madras High Court


Listing, however, is only the beginning. The normal grind involved starting from motion of notice to filing of counters, interspersed with regular adjournments from advocates on either sides and portfolio changes of judges, would involve another long period of endless wait.

In fact, going by the prevailing disposal rate, it may probably take another five to six years or even more for the litigant, D Shyamala, to have a verdict. Legal experts opine that at the end of all the precious time, mental strain and money that have gone into the case, the petitioner might only receive a direction to consider her plea for promotion.

“When I realised that favouritism, and not merit, had played a role in promotion, I felt miserable. Unable to go through the mental agony of being slighted by the management, I thought the court was the lone forum that could provide me justice. After moving the plea, I realised that justice was not for the asking and one had to wait. But I never expected that it would take 10 long years for my plea to be listed at the first place,” said the dejected professor, who holds a doctorate in physics.

As of now, with much water having flown since the plea was moved, the professor has decided to give up on her pursuit for justice that has proven largely useless. Moreover, considering her retirement that is just a few years away and pressure exerted by the management to withdraw the case, she has given up her efforts to seek justice.

Now, with pessimism writ large and having learnt to live with the injustice inflicted on her, she says with anger and disappointment that the gross delay has illustrated yet again the impediments that prevail for public in accessing justice in India.

Advocate D Nagasaila, who moved the plea on the professor’s behalf, said, “This is the fate befalling many litigants. Though not just one reason could be attributed to such delays, the prime aspect is the lack of judges. In this instance, the lack of adequate number of judges had resulted in none being allocated the portfolio regards such cases. Now, with the portfolio being offered, the case has come up after a decade, which is unacceptable by any standards.”

“Convoluted procedures and technicalities also affect everyone in the system and unless a holistic approach is taken up, along with ensuring that prescribed number of judges fixed based on the population is filled up, the lacuna is bound to persist,” she added.

The role of courts in society is not merely to adjudicate disputes between parties, but also to protect the rights and liberty of individuals. The encounter killing of the four men accused of the gruesome rape and murder of a 26-year-old in Hyderabad has also been blamed on the aspect that delayed justice is justice denied.

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