Court can postpone the proceeding for a future date for some valid reason such as failure of a party or witness to appear because of serious illness, getting additional documents, etc. The party may request for an adjournment or court may adjourn the proceeding on its own as well.
The process for Adjournments has been defined in Order XVII-ADJOURNMENTS of Code of Civil Procedure.
1. Court may grant time and adjourn hearing—(1) The Court may, if sufficient cause is shown, at any stage of the suit grant time to the parties or to any of them, and may from time to time adjourn the hearing of the suit.
This was amended in 1999, to allow either only parties three times for requesting the adjournment.
1. Court may grant time and adjourn hearing
1[(1) The Court may, if sufficient cause is shown, at any stage of the suit grant time to the parties or to any of them, and may from time to time adjourn the hearing of the suit for reasons to be recorded in writing:
Provided that no such adjournment shall be granted more than three times to a party during hearing of the suit.]
However, this is still rule is still not followed in all courts.
Mr. Anil Gidwani had filed a PIL in Mumbai High Court for stricter enforcement of this rule.
The PIL was "disposed of" in an interesting chain of events.
Mr Gidwani's updates on the following link gives an insight into the current state of judiucial system: