The Supreme Court, recently, reprimanded its members of the staff of the Registry for failing to comply with the directions of the Court, to place on record two separate sets of translated copies of the depositions of the material witnesses in a matter. As per the explanation by the Senior Court Assistant, it was the Court Masters who did not inform them that the Court required two separate sets of translated copies of the depositions of the Trial Court. The bench refused to accept the same explanation.

However, noting that the members of the staff tendered an apology and the Registrar (Judicial Listing) assured the Court that such lapses will not happen again, the bench closed the matter and did not take any action against the members of the Registry.

A bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal thus observed, “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 the 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”.

AOR Arjun Garg (Amicus Curiae), Advocate Shobhit Jain appeared for the petitioner.

It is pertinent to note, that the May 12, 2023 order of the Court read,

"The Registry to call for the record of the Trial Court and to provide soft copy of the record to the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner. The Registry to place on record printed version of the depositions of the material witnesses. List on 21st July, 2023."

In the matter, therefore, the bench at the outset was of the opinion that the earlier order was very clear, as the order was passed to peruse the depositions. However, on subsequent dates the order was not complied with, therefore, by an order dated August 25, 2023 an explanation of the Registrar (Judicial Listing) was called for.

After perusing the explanation along with the explanations offered by the members of the staff, the bench observed, “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”.

Accordingly, the Court also gave instructions to the 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. The bench has listed the matter on September 18, 2023.

Cause Title: Harphool @ Kala v. State Of Uttar Pradesh

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