The Supreme Court has said that fairness is a “hallmark of great advocacy” and if the members of the Bar do not cooperate with the trial courts, it would be very difficult for the courts to deal with huge arrears of cases.
The top court made the observations while hearing a petition arising out of an order of the Bombay High Court. It noted that as per data available on the National Judicial Data Grid, there is a huge pendency of suits in the trial courts in Maharashtra.
“If the members of the Bar do not cooperate with the trial courts, it will be very difficult for our courts to deal with the huge arrears,” a bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Rajesh Bindal said in its verdict delivered on September 14.
The top court said while a trial is being conducted, the members of the Bar are expected to act as officers of the court and conduct themselves in a reasonable and fair manner.
“The members of the Bar must remember that fairness is a hallmark of great advocacy. If the advocates start objecting to every question asked in the cross-examination, the trial cannot go on smoothly. The trial gets delayed,” it said.
The observations by the top court came after it noted that as per the trial court’s recording in the matter, one of the advocates had taken objections on every question during the cross-examination of a witness.
The bench delivered its judgement on an appeal challenging the June 2021 order of the high court which had stayed the execution and operation of a judgement and decree passed by a district court on a suit filed by a firm engaged in selling country liquor.
Claiming that it has a copyright of the artistic label displayed on the bottles of the country liquor sold by it, the firm had claimed a permanent injunction restraining another company from infringing copyright in its artistic label.
In its suit, the firm had also prayed for a decree of injunction restraining the other side from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, advertising or otherwise dealing in country liquor having its trademark label or any deceptively similar trademark label.
The supreme court noted the district court had restrained anyone from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, advertising or otherwise dealing in country liquor bearing the trademark or any other trademark label deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s trademark label.
The other company had moved the high court which stayed the execution and operation of the decree till the final disposal of the appeal.
The top court, which dismissed the plea observing that the high court was justified in granting order of stay pending final disposal of the appeal, noted it cannot refrain from recording “certain disturbing features” about the conduct of a member of the Bar while the trial was being conducted in the case.
It referred to the trial court’s recording during the cross-examination of a witness by one of the firms.
The bench noted the trial judge had recorded that the lawyer was taking objections for each and every question.
“In the facts of the case, looking at the persistent objections raised by the advocate, the court was required to record a substantial part of the cross-examination in question and answer form which consumed a lot of time of the court,” the top court said.
While dismissing the plea, the bench clarified that while deciding the pending appeal, the high court would not be influenced by the observations made by the top court.