Bombay High Court Upholds Rules Allowing Litigants to Argue Their Cases, Dismisses Petition

The Bombay High Court has affirmed that the rules permitting petitioners to personally argue their cases are protected under fundamental rights, stating that these provisions do not infringe on the freedom of expression. The bench, comprising Justices AS Chandurkar and Jitendra Jain, dismissed a petition filed by former judicial officer Naresh Vazhe.

Vazhe had challenged a notification from September 2015, which allowed parties to personally conduct and present their proceedings. The court responded that these rules do not violate the constitutional provisions regarding equality before the law or the freedoms of speech and expression. Furthermore, the High Court explained that the rules were designed to facilitate the administration of justice and to ensure smooth conduct of proceedings by any party.

The petitioner, Naresh Vazhe, argued that these rules unjustly restricted litigants’ rights to a hearing and thereby breached constitutional rights.

It should be noted that any petitioner wishing to argue their case personally must first appear before a two-member committee of the High Court’s registry department. This committee reviews the case and consults with the petitioner, subsequently preparing a report on whether the petitioner is capable of arguing the case themselves. If deemed qualified, the petitioner is required to assure the court that they will not disrupt the proceedings.

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