Read Order: Forum Against Oppression of Women In the matter between P Versus A & Ors. 

Pankaj Bajpai

Mumbai March 22, 2022: While considering an interim application filed by the Forum Against Oppression of Women under Order 1 Rule 8-A r/w/s 151 of CPC seeking impleadment in the Suit dealing with POSH matters, the Bombay High Court has clarified that the directions issued by this Court on September 24, 2021 were not general directions and hence does not govern all matters under the POSH Act and Rules. 

The Single Judge G.S. Patel highlighted that a Single Judge hearing a particular matter within his rostered assignment has no authority or jurisdiction to issue any rules binding the entire Court. 

The Interim Application was filed by a group, The Forum Against Oppression of Women, under Order 1 Rule 8-A r/w/s 151 of CPC seeking impleadment in the Suit, which was between private parties wherein this Court by an order passed on September 24, 2021, had issued certain directions regarding the further progress in the matter, covering aspects of confidentiality. The Interim Application proceeded on the basis that the directions on that day in the Suit were general directions governing all matters under the POSH Act and Rules. 

Justice Patel found that it remained to be specifically noted in that order of September 24, that the order was indeed not only restricted to this particular Suit, but was by consent of both sides and was based on signed written submissions presented by the Advocate for the Plaintiff and Defendants. 

The directions had to be confined to this particular case, and they could not possibly have had any larger or wider applicability for the simple reason that any such Rules of general applicability would have to be approved by the Full Court, added the Single Judge. 

Justice Patel observed that a delegation of the authority of the Full Court would have to be in a manner known to law, and a Single Judge hearing a particular matter within his rostered assignment has no authority or jurisdiction to issue any rules binding the entire Court, and it is only the Full Court or the Chief Justice which or who can do that. 

Very possibly, such Rules might even have been required to be notified in the official gazette, but, none of this was in contemplation at any time on September 24,added the Single Judge. 

Justice Patel further said that he addressed some of these inadvertent lapses in the subsequent order of October 11, 2021. 

Ms Indira Jaising, counsel for the applicant, agreed that this sufficiently addressed her clients’ concerns in the Interim Application, and she therefore did not press the Application, added the Single Judge. 

Lastly, the High Court clarified that this order was required to be uploaded, although with the names of the parties anonymized. 

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