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Causes of Compulsory Delay in Civil Litigations

The sources of compulsory delay starts form filing of a plaint. A plaint isn’t examined by the judge on the date of the registration of the plaint to see whether a prima facie case has been made out warranting issue of summons. Automatic issuance of summons is a point from which delay ensues. There often occurs some delay between the filing of the plaint and its placing before the court for direction to register.11
The filing of a plaint with deficit court-fee which is now permissible is another very important factor for delay. Several adjournments are taken for correcting the valuation and putting in the balance court-fee. Then again the requirement of law to accompany the plaint by the documents used upon is rarely complied with and this is another contributory factor to delay.

The service of summonses is not promptly done which causes delay in civil litigation. The latest chief justice of Bangladesh established a high standard committee to recognize the causes of delay in civil litigation. That committee gave a report about that in such a way described below-

Delay occurs in civil cases because of not serving summons to defendants on due time. So, serestadar in every court has to follow rule 55 of Civil Rules & Orders (vol-i). And the provisions of order 4 of Civil Procedure Code have to be strictly followed regarding presenting a plaint. Besides, rule 99 of Civil Rules & Orders & article 5 of Civil Suit Instructions Manuals have to be followed regarding the surety of receiving the tolobana fee by Nejarat within 2 days. The officer in charge of the Nejarat section has to investigate instantly to ensure that.

The process servers show negligence in serving summons and they don’t serve summons without getting expected tips. Sometimes the report about the service of summons is not incorporated in the orders & files. There is no alternative to serve summons to the party who is in abroad.

Sometimes it takes years to serve summons to the parties who live in various districts. Sometimes it takes time to serve summons because of want of process servers, though the process volume is ready. Delay is also occurred because of transferring cases to another court.12

The lawyers take time as they don’t get the copy of various deeds and porcha. Inordinate delay is also caused because of unusual delay in serving warrant in family suit.

Delay is also occurred by return and rejection of plaint. The defendant generally appears on the date fixed in the summons but takes time for filing written statement. Several adjournments are taken and given for filing the written statement. Besides, the non appearance of parties also causes delay in civil cases.13

The power to restore the suit to its previous file and number by the court is mostly exercised very leniently awarding costs in some cases without entering into the merit of the application and also on the question of limitation. There are many cases where even after years applications are filed for setting aside the order of dismissal or exported decree and the court takes a compassionate view and allows it. This leniency shown to undeserving cases encourages indolence and prolongs litigation.14

Lawyers of both sides commit mistake in plaint & written statement. That’s why they amend this again and again. Many times the lawyer adds new party & amends the written statement. This causes delay in civil litigation Amendments often become necessary and prayers for amendments are leniently entertained by courts at any stage. Sometimes amendment of the written statement is also sought for and allowed. The amendments of the plaint not only involve filing of additional written statement but these also necessitate the service of fresh summons upon the non appearing defendants.15

The unnecessary delay is occurred due to the fact that the parties are not examined before the hearing or at the first hearing. The non attendance of the witnesses and consequent adjournment of the hearing is very common which causes delay in civil litigation.

It is the usual practice of the court to leave the framing of issues to lawyers of parties who submit draft issue. It is very common that many days pass off before drafts are given and issues framed. It is rarely seen in contesting cases that the hearing is actually held in first hearing. Despite having sufficient time the judges postpone the hearing as a routine manner. Time petition is always granted for trifling matters. In spite of having the specific provisions about discovery & inspection, interrogation in civil cases, the parties don’t follow this on due time. Sometimes judges are unwilling to hear the objections raised by the local investigation. That’s why, delay occurs in disposing civil suits. Though the Code provides for production of all documents which are intended to be used as evidence by parties at the first hearing this is not often done. Parties are allowed to file documents on the hearing date and in the course of hearing which causes delay. One very important cause of delay is the substitution procedure. A substitution becomes necessary when a plaintiff or defendant dies or the interest of the plaintiff or defendant devolves on some persons who may not be the heirs but have become successor-in-interest during the pendency of a proceeding. Sometimes it takes time to get the death certificate which causes delay in civil cases.16

Often the hearing of the original cases is stayed because of the interlocutory matters. These interlocutory matters may arise under a variety of situations, such as, substitution or appeal arising from interlocutory matters like injunction, appointment of receivers etc. The court fixes many suits for hearing on a single day; and when more than one suit is ready for hearing the court cannot usually cope with these and have to adjourn all but one for hearing. This manner of fixing date by itself is a cause of delay. The judges adjourn the cases after examining one or two witnesses although they have sufficient time in hands. And sometime they adjourn the cases without just cause after hearing the argument.17 As to rule-1 of order 22, judgment has to be delivered within seven days after hearing the argument, this provision is being violated. Sometimes judges are transferred to other stations without pronouncing judgment violating Civil Rules & Orders- Rule141. But usually judgments are not written out on the following day of hearing of the cases or soon thereafter. This delay in delivering judgments is not conducive for expeditious disposal of the cases.18 Another important cause of delay in civil suit is to waste time to make the copy of Folio because of shortage of manpower in copying department. Although there is legal obligation to apply the system of Alternative Dispute Resolution in primary level of a suit and in case of appeal, these provisions are restrained in books. If a judge can dispose of a case by ADR system, he will get the credit of disposing two contesting cases. But in practice, they aren’t given that credit. That’s why the lawyers and judges show their negligence in disposing a case by applying the ADR system. The law hasn’t been obeyed in presenting time petition. There is limitation in case of asking time. As to rule 3,4,5 of order 1st of c p c, the court will not grant adjournment more them six times before hearing both sides, and if granted, six times the concerning party has to pay not less than 200 taka and not more than 1000 taka. As to the amendment of Civil Procedure Code in 2006, the Appellate court will not grant time more than 3 times with cost of not less than 200 taka and not more than 1000 taka. But in practice, the provisions aren’t followed.