NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday recorded its disagreement with constitutional courts summoning public servants for personal appearance and said it was the work of the officer, leading to the suffering on the public at large.
A bench of Justices
and Hemant Gupta said, “Summoning of officers to the court to attend proceedings on the functioning of officers and finally it is the public at large that suffers on account of their absence from duty to assign them. The practice of summoning officers to court is not proper and does not affect the administration of justice
In the recent past, the SC is summoned numerous top bureaucrats, including chief secretaries and law secretaries of states, and gave them a dressing down for laxity in providing infrastructure to subordinate judiciary.
This week too, the SC had summoned the Chief Secretary of Assam, who remained present in court for the last three days. For two days, he had been present to explain steps taken by the government in identifying and tracking foreigners and on the third day, he was presently present to witness the
The judgment from the bench of Justices Kaul and Gupta came on a petition filed by the social forestry division of Agra in
challenging a judgment of the
, which resorted to the court of justice to force the forest officials to regularize the ad-hoc workers after ensuring that they were paid minimum wages.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Gupta said, “The HC has exceeded the disqualeness of the court in the court to appear in the court of court and, in fact, the HC has passed a single bench on October 23 , 2008. We found the grievance regarding regularization of service on account of a break in service, which has not been taken up in court proceedings, when such issue has reached the HC final. ”
The bench added, “If an order is not legal, the courts have enough jurisdiction to set aside such order and to issue such directions as warranted in the facts of the case.
Returning to the issue of summoning officers to court, the bench said, “The officers pass orders as custodians of public money. Therefore, only because an order has passed, it does not warrant their personal presence We found the HC not justified in passing orders from time to time.