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Kerala HC: No Unfair Advantage for Litigants Seeking Expedited Disposal

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LI Network

Published on: 20 August 2023 at 17:46 IST

The Kerala High Court recently emphasized that having the means to approach the court and request swift resolution of a case should not grant litigants an unfair advantage over others.

This decision, drawing from previous cases like Shiju Joy. V. Nisha [2021] and Prema Joy vs. John Britto [2023], highlighted that litigants with resources cannot bypass the queue or gain undue benefits.

This stance was upheld in response to an application urging the Court of Munsiff – III, Neyyattinkara, to expedite the adjudication of a matter within a specific timeframe.

Justice C.S. Dias, in a Single Judge Bench, emphasized that the court’s supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India must be exercised sparingly and in exceptional cases.

While the court has the responsibility to ensure that district courts and tribunals stay within their prescribed authority, this does not mean interfering in proceedings at every stage based solely on litigant requests, especially to prioritize their case over older pending matters.

The petitioner in the case, represented by Advocate M.R Sarin, sought prompt resolution of a partition lawsuit filed in September 2021.

Despite the substantial delay in resolving the case, the Court observed that having the means to approach the court for expediting the case does not warrant jumping ahead of other litigants with older pending matters.

The Court noted that the suit was still in its early stages, with no indications of whether the respondents had even filed their written statement.

The Bench concluded that there were no extraordinary circumstances or compelling reasons to use the superintendence power of the court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. Directing the trial court to expedite the case was deemed inappropriate, as it would disrupt the existing queue of cases that were already awaiting trial due to a significant backlog.

In this case, titled B.K Shyamala Kumari v. Ragi Rajendran and Ors., the Kerala High Court’s decision reiterated the principle that having the means to approach the court for swift resolution should not lead to unfair advantages, and such powers of superintendence should be exercised judiciously and exceptionally.