Calcutta High Court imposes Rs 20,000 costs on defendant who sought 2-week adjournment citing pandemic risks

"It is ... not clear as to how the additional two weeks would encourage the witness to travel to the Court for the cross-examination", the Court remarked.
Calcutta High Court imposes Rs 20,000 costs on defendant who sought 2-week adjournment citing pandemic risks
Calcutta High Court

An adjournment request citing the risk of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday led the Calcutta High Court to impose Rs 20,000 as costs for unnecessarily delaying the trial in a commercial suit.

The adjournment was sought by the second defendant in a 2016 commercial suit (Pioneer Property Management Limited v. Amazon Sellers Private Limited and anr).

The Advocate on record told the Court that his witness was not in a position to come to Court to continue with the cross-examination, which had started in February last year.

The witness had expressed unwillingness to take the risk of travel by reason of the pandemic. Therefore, it was urged that the matter be adjourned to be heard in February 2021.

On the one hand, Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya noted that when the matter was taken up last on December 7, and when the case was fixed to be heard on January 11 (Monday), no such ground of inconvenience was stated.

Moreover, the Judge remarked,

"It is also not clear as to how the additional two weeks would encourage the witness to travel to the Court for the cross-examination."

All the same, the Court proceeded to adjourn the case to February 2, making it clear that "no further adjournment will be given in the matter."

Further, the Court ordered,

"The defendant no.2 is directed to pay costs at Rs.20,000/- to be paid to Bharat Sevasram Sangha, Kolkata for unnecessarily delaying the trial in a Commercial Suit."

Read the order:

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Pioneer Property Management Limited v. Amazon Sellers Private Limited and anr.pdf
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