Mumbai: ‘Tareekh pe Tareekh’ (adjournment after adjournment) is a fact and criticism regarding frequent adjournment of cases will not be viewed harshly, the Bombay High Court observed on Thursday with reference to a Tweet put out by Sunaina Holey regarding how her case seeking quashing of FIRs was being adjourned frequently.
A Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik adopted a generous approach to the Tweet and laughed at the choice of words by Holey while also adding that they were indeed listening to her case.
The Court clarified that it did not have a problem with the statement at all. Justice Shinde even went to the extent of stating that what she has tweeted is a fact and for a litigant, his/ her case is most important.
“What she said is a fact. We understand that for a litigant their matter is the most important matter. Amongst the thousands of cases filed, for each litigant their matter is most important,” Justice Shinde remarked.
He added on a lighter note added that “there is even a television programme by that name.”
The Court was hearing a plea by Holey to quash FIRs against her for putting up allegedly objectionable Tweets against government officials including Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray when the latest Tweet by Holey on ‘adjournments’ was pointed out by State’s counsel, Senior Advocate Manoj Mohite.
Holey’s counsel Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud immediately tried to mitigate the situation by pointing out that Holey was merely referring to a famous Bollywood movie dialogue.
He also added a clarification that “he does not subscribe to such acts at all, especially when the court was listening to the matter everyday in the middle of a pandemic from 4.30 to 5.30 in the evening.”
While the Court did not object to her Tweets, it proceeded to ask Dr. Chandrachud to take instructions from Holey to refrain from tweeting about the pending petition till the matter is disposed of.
Justice Shinde also went on to explain the reason for the ‘tareekh pe tareekh’. He stated that daily there are several cases filed and being heard in the court and no thought is being put in with regard to the infrastructure required to hear the matters.
For instance, there are umpteen cases filed under the Negotiable Instruments Act in the courts of Delhi, Madras, Bombay and Kolkata besides cases relating to bail, parole etc, he said.
This same Bench of Justices Shinde and Karnik had observed on December 15 that judiciary must not waste precious time on contempt hearings which can otherwise be utilised for hearing important questions of law.
Contempt of court powers, Justice Shinde had said, should be used only as a last resort and should not be used against a layperson criticising courts or judges.
Besides, her Tweet on Thackeray, Holey has also challenged an FIR registered against her for spreading hatred among communities again based on a Tweet put out by her.
Dr. Chandrachud completed his arguments on Friday and the State government is expected to commence arguments on Monday.
The State has undertaken that it will not take any coercive action against Holey for now.