Delay in disposal of cases cannot be solely attributed to one advocate

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Vineet Kothari, J. decided a batch of writ petitions filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, wherein the Court held that it is the right of the State to engage any particular advocate to represent it in cases.

The petitioners (practicing advocates in Bangalore courts belonging to Scheduled Castes) filed the writ petition seeking direction from the Court to remove Respondent 5 who was engaged by the State to represent the State in various cases relating to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe persons in the State. Petitioners contended that the said respondent was inefficient and incompetent due to which a large number of cases relating to SC/ST persons were pending before the courts. They also submitted that adequate opportunity should be given to other advocates to represent the State.

The High Court perused the material available on record and observed that the Court cannot interfere in such matters under Article 226 of the Constitution. It is the discretion of the State, like any other client, to engage any advocate to represent it in cases. Further, the delay in disposal of cases cannot be solely attributed to anyone advocate appearing for a litigant. The Indian judiciary is overburdened with number of cases and it is a well-known fact that there is a huge delay in disposal of cases for countless reasons.

The Court categorically held that, “a particular Advocate engaged by the State cannot be blamed for delay in disposal of the cases, as is sought to be made out by the petitioners. The petitioners do not have any locus standi to issue any kind of Certificate or brand any Advocate like 5th Respondent. Whether he is efficient or inefficient, whether his services are proper or not, it is for the State to decide. It is a choice of the State to select its own Advocate. It is none of the business of the Court much less of the complaining petitioners – Advocates to interfere in the same.”

Accordingly, any relief as prayed for by the petitioners was declined and the petitions were dismissed. [Prabhu V. v. Deptt. of Social Welfare, Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 489, order dated 28-02-2018]

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