The Supreme Court has come down heavily on its own registry for not being able to understand simple Orders passed by the court and on top of it trying to shift the entire burden on court masters of the Bench.
A Bench, comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal, bemoaned the sorry state of affairs in the registry.
On May 12, the court directed the registry to call for the record of the trial court and provide a soft copy of the record to the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner.
The registry was supposed to place on record printed versions of the depositions of the material witnesses.
The registry failed to compile with the Order.
On July 21, the Bench again directed the registry to place on record typed copies of the depositions and other relevant documents. Even this Order was not complied with.
Consequently, on August 25, the Bench sought an explanation from the registrar (judicial listing).
The senior court assistant and other officers tried to shift the entire blame on the court masters saying that they had not informed the senior court assitant’s section that the court required two separate sets of translated copies of the depositions of the trial court.
An irked Bench said: “It is unfortunate that the senior court assistant and other officers have tried to shift the entire blame on the court masters. According to us, the court masters had no role to play in compliance with the Orders of this court and they cannot be blamed for the lapse.”
The Bench added: “This is a very sorry state of affairs. The members of the staff of the registry are not able to understand simple Orders passed by this court and they are trying to shift the entire burden on the court masters, which was uncalled for.
“When a Bench of two judges requires printed copies of depositions, it is obvious that only one copy cannot be supplied and two copies are required. The explanations submitted by some staff members show that even this elementary knowledge was lacking.”
The Bench stopped short of taking action against the registry officials after they tendered an apology and the registrar (judicial listing) assured the court that such lapses will not happen again.
“We direct that the matter may be treated as closed and no action shall be taken against any member of the staff.
“However, we expect that the concerned registrar (judicial listing) will instruct the members of the staff that the Orders of the court should be scrupulously implemented and in the event any member of the registry has any doubt, they should seek clarification through the court masters,” the Bench ordered.
This was not the first time the Supreme Court’s registry has come under the scanner.
In 2020, the Supreme Court had sought
an explanation from its own registry over the listing of an anticipatory bail matter after almost a year despite the court’s Order to list it in four weeks from issuing notice.
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