Coming down heavily on its registry for passing the buck, the Supreme Court pulled up officials for their repeated failure to place on record two copies of witness testimony in a criminal case before it.
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court which included Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal noted in the order, “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.”
“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 master’s which was uncalled for,” the order added.
“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 order stated.
The Court made these observations while hearing an appeal against a murder conviction where the accused was given a sentence of seven years of rigorous imprisonment in 2008.
The Allahabad High Court, in 2017, upheld the conviction and sentence, leading to an appeal before the top court by the convict.
But despite three orders from the Supreme Court to place two copies of the testimony, the registry did not adhere to the same and then the bench sought an explanation from the registrar (judicial listing).
When the matter came up for hearing on September 11, the court went through the explanations tendered by the registrar and other staff members and expressed its disappointment with the same.
“However, we expect the concerned Registrar (Judicial Listing) to instruct the members of the staff that the orders of the Court should be scrupulously implemented and, in event, any member of the Registry has any doubt, they should seek clarification through the Court Masters. List on 18th September 2023,” the Court said while accepting the apology by the officials.