In his special leave petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court (SC), DRT presiding officer M M Dhonchak has contended that the HC order amounts to usurpation of the powers of the central government as well as Chief Justice of India by the high court.
The order restraining Dhonchak was passed by a division bench, comprising Justice M S Ramachandra Rao and Justice H S Madan, on October 27 after hearing a plea filed by DRT Bar association against his functioning. The DRT bar has also been boycotting Dhonchak’s court.
Dhonchak has submitted in his SLP: “The suspension of work/strike/boycott of the courts by advocates has no legal sanctity, whatsoever.”
The impugned order passed by the HC has virtually legalised the illegal and contemptuous boycott of the tribunal by the advocates and the same is likely to have a devastating effect not only upon the independent functioning of the tribunals but also the whole district judiciary of the country,” the SLP stated Dhonchak has also contended that the tribunal cannot be left at the mercy of advocates/parties for compliance of its orders to facilitate the ripening of cases for final decision and a case is not expected to be adjourned time and again.
Imposition of costs is no misbehaviour by a presiding officer. “Usually, a presiding officer of DRT is expected to decide around 500 cases annually and thus, in the tenure of four years, the petitioner is expected to decide around 2,000 cases. When there are around 11,500 cases, there is no logic of unduly getting bothered with 9,500 cases and the petitioner have/ had every right and logic to adjourn around 9,500 cases beyond the tenure of the petitioner, which is scheduled to come to an end in February 2026… About a month back, the petitioner had more than 60 cases in which debt was more than Rs 100 crores. As per instructions of the finance ministry, these cases were not to be adjourned beyond a period of seven days and going by those standards, at least eight such cases were to be fixed on every working day of the tribunal.
CHANDIGARH:It is an uphill task to take up even eight such cases in a day given the quantity and quality of the supporting staff in the tribunal…,” says the plea. The apex court has also been informed that time and again the petitioner has pointed out various bottlenecks coming in the way of speedy disposal of cases and remedial measures.