The bench of judges Kaul and Abhay S Oka approved this order on Tuesday as it adjourned the hearing in a case titled ‘Nagesh Chaudhary against the state Uttar Pradesh ‘to November 15. He said: “The new listing system is not giving adequate time to address issues set for the hearing such as the present case as there are a number of issues throughout the ‘Afternoon’ session.”
After being sworn in as the 49th CJI, Judge Lalit promised to simplify the case list like his predecessor Justice NV Ramana he admitted that he could not pay much attention to this area when supporters complained that new petitions were not listed.
The bidding system introduced by CJI Lalit meant two distinct rounds for the 30 judges. On Mondays and Fridays they gathered in 15 different desks to listen to newly filed cases, which were more than 60 a day.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, judges in the morning session (from 10 to 30 until 13) heard old cases concerning important issues of law in a combination of three-judge benches. In the afternoon, the two judges’ benches were assigned 30 cases upon notice, to be dealt with in 120 minutes, which amounted to each case receiving an average of four minutes of judicial attention. However, the CJI has already reduced the number of cases from 30 to 20 in these three days since Tuesday.
The rumblings among the judges began last week. On Friday a two-judge court had refused to allow the hearing to be postponed, claiming that they read the case file working late in the evening and that the lawyer shouldn’t expect them to take the time to read it again another day.
But he was forced to adjourn the hearing in another case, saying, “The case files have arrived at the eleventh hour and we haven’t had time to read them.” With the “list of activities” published at the end of the day, the clerk struggled to make the case files available at the judges’ residences in time for the judges to read it.
Another panel of two judges on Friday rejected repeated requests from a lawyer to set the next hearing date for the case being adjourned and said it was unable to honor the dates it had previously set for cases such as mode of the list has changed.