Presiding Officer and Lawyer’s Heated Exchange Insufficient to Raise Doubts of Unfair Treatment: Punjab & Haryana HC

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LI Network

Published on: 31 August 2023 at 10:26 IST

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed a Revision Petition challenging the dismissal of a transfer petition by a District Court.

The challenge stemmed from a heated argument between the counsel of the petitioners and the Presiding Officer during proceedings. Despite the intense exchange, the High Court ruled that such incidents alone cannot lead to doubts about receiving a fair judgment.

Justice Vikram Aggarwal emphasized that although emotions may run high during arguments, they should not sow seeds of apprehension in the minds of the parties regarding the impartiality of the court’s proceedings. Both the Presiding Officer and the members of the Bar bear the responsibility of upholding professionalism and decorum within the courtroom.

“It must be remembered that during arguments, tensions can sometimes escalate without any invitation. However, this factor alone should not be sufficient to create doubts in the minds of any of the parties that justice will not be served by the concerned court. Simultaneously, it is incumbent upon the Presiding Officers to ensure that their conduct does not give rise to such apprehensions,” Justice Aggarwal remarked.

The case arose when Respondents filed a civil suit against the petitioners and proforma respondents for possession through specific performance, accompanied by a declaration and permanent injunction. During the arguments, the petitioners sought a chance to present their arguments on an application, which they alleged was denied by the court.

This incident, combined with an exchange of heated words, led the petitioners to question the impartiality of the court. They subsequently filed a transfer petition, which the District Court rejected, prompting them to approach the High Court through the revision petition.

While affirming the decision of the District Judge, the High Court reiterated that it is the responsibility of the court to provide all parties a fair hearing in accordance with the law before making a final decision on an application. This approach should assuage any concerns expressed by the involved parties.

The court emphasized, “Nevertheless, the concerned court is expected to provide a fair hearing to all parties (as per the law) before arriving at a final decision on an application filed under Order VII Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code for the rejection of the plaint. This practice should alleviate any apprehensions raised by the parties to the litigation.”

Consequently, the High Court dismissed the petition and upheld the District Court’s decision.

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