Court Lore

Aug 17, 2012, 07:36 IST | Samarth Moray

In the days before air-conditioning and closed courtrooms, stray animals had 'free ingress and egress' in courtrooms.

Once, a bitch delivered some pups right under the judge’s podium. In the middle of arguments, some puppies wandered out from underneath and their mother began to nurse them. Distracted, the lawyer on his feet stopped arguing and stared incredulously at the sight. The judge however brushed it aside and said, “She is doing her job. You do yours.”

>> There are several entrances and exits to the Bombay High Court building, and sometimes, notorious litigants have used this to their full advantage. Haseena Parkar, sister to don Dawood Ibrahim, was once to come to court for a hearing. The paparazzi had positioned themselves at all the court’s entrances, hoping for a picture of Parkar. They were to be disappointed however, when the wily woman arranged for three other ‘Haseena Parkars’ – dressed head to toe in black burqas – to enter the court premises simultaneously from all gates.

>> At one hearing, a persistent counsel continuously tried to convince the judge not to extern his client, a goon based in Pune. Five minutes in, the judge blurted, “Mr. Counsel, please… I am only ordering that your client stay outside the Pune area. Let him come to Bombay and join some nice gang!” leaving the courtroom in splits.

>> It’s not always judges who have the last laugh. In a hearing in a testamentary suit, a judge once directed the lawyer for the plaintiff to issue notices to the respondents. The judge also added that a notice should be issued to the deceased. The lawyer replied, “I am sorry My Lord, but I do not think any bailiff would be willing to serve the deceased.”

>> Among the more surprising cases in recent times, a division bench of the Bombay High Court admitted a writ petition of Habeas Corpus for the production of a bull. Habeas Corpus petitions are reserved exclusively to have police produce before the court persons who have been illegally detained. Though terming the petition ‘ill-advised’, the court went on to hear the matter and ultimately directed the petitioner to seek compensation from the State - the bull, worth about R25,000, had died while detained in the BMC’s cattle pound.

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