Nedumpara’s letter to the Principal District and Sessions Judge on the ill treatment of lawyers and litigants by subordinate judiciary


The Principal District and Sessions Judge,
City Civil Court Complex
Fort, Mumbai

May it please your Honour,

Sub: Grievance, nay, denial of justice to the litigant public, ill treatment of lawyers and litigants by Mrs. Patil, the presiding judge of Court no.9, City Civil Court, Mumbai- Reg.

As a lawyer who has been campaigning for the restoration of the pristine glory of the Civil Courts, as a court of record of plenary jurisdiction, which alone is truly vested of the jurisdiction to declare even an Act of Parliament as unconstitutional, I pen these few lines with great pain and anguish. 
  1. I have a considerable number of cases, not less than 100, in the City Civil Court, most of which are in Court no.9. Since an order of the Civil Court is amenable to correction by the High Court, I always prefer to send my juniors, as a conscious measure to ensure that they also get opportunities to conduct the cases. In most of the cases, emergent orders are required, which necessitates moving a praecipe in the morning for the case to be taken in the afternoon. However, my juniors could not, except on a few occasions, get the matters taken up and heard, because the judge concerned refused to take it up for hearing, which left me with no option than to appear myself.
  2. I believe there cannot be a greater virtue than reticence, and my endeavor is to put across my grievance for remedial action in the most respectful manner, without leaving any impression that I am making any sort of a complaint against the presiding judge of Court no.9, for the vindication of my grievance. I being from Kerala, and having started appearing in the courts in Mumbai after being in the bar for more than a quarter of a century in Kerala/Delhi, I am unfamiliar with Marathi. Whenever I have mentioned a matter for emergent hearing or argued it before Mrs. Patil, which I have on two or more occasions, she would communicate with me only in Marathi, despite my repeatedly bringing to the notice of the judge my inability to understand Marathi. The court officer who takes a very active role while the hearing is going on, too speaks only in Marathi. If the judge were to express, even in Marathi, but in a courteous manner, I would not have felt in any way disturbed. The solution I felt then was to not rake up a controversy but avoid appearance.
  3. However, against my resolve not to appear any longer, I had to come to court no.9 since my client, Mrs. Sabina Lakdawala, wife of late Yusuf Lakdawala, had to seek emergent orders against her in-laws in a suit that was pending before Court no.9. Besides that, there were three other cases, one of which was heard by Court no.8 on. 09.2021, when the Ld. Judge of court no. 9 was on leave, which was required to be send to Court no.8, being a part heard matter. I stood up to mention the four matters, only to say that in the case of Mrs. Sabina Lakdawala, on account of the extreme urgency, the case be preponed from 18.10.2021 to a near date, and the other case be send back to Court no.8. I did so because at the beginning of the board itself, the court had indicated that for want of time, it will not be able to hear the cases which are listed, and would only take up matters where there is a pressing urgency. To be fair to the Ld. Judge Court no.9 has got a large number of cases which causes a great challenge. I was conscious of this limitation and constraint the Court faces, and that is the reason why I myself limited my request for a preponement of the application of injunction in one of the cases which was required to be heard urgently.
  4. What was most unfortunate and disturbing was the most disrespectful and discourteous manner in which the Ld. Judge had conducted herself. I have been told and witnessed that the Ld. Judge seems to have some sort of an aversion and disregard for lawyers who present before her in English, which in my case is because of my total unfamiliarity with Marathi.
  5. I have nothing against Mrs. Patil. As a senior member of the Bar, I only wish her to earn the good name as a competent judge by the quality of her judgements and conduct worthy of the high office she occupies. I am sure this letter will certainly give an occasion for the Ld. Judge to introvert.
  6. Before parting with, I wish to place before your honour, my predicament. I cannot totally avoid appearing before Court no.9, because, for the urgency of certain matters makes it imperative. The very thought of appearing before a judge who conducts herself in such an offending manner, is a nightmare. I therefore, consider that it is only in the fitness of things that the cases in which I appear are directed to be listed before some other judge, which is an absolute necessity in the interest of justice.
  7. In this letter I have only expressed my reflections. Your Honour is invested of infinite wisdom and sanguinity to take the appropriate decision. In that faith I remain.

With kind regards,

Yours Sincerely,

Mathews J. Nedumpara