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Court Ordinarily Should Not Summon Senior Government Officials 2011 Sc

Court Ordinarily Should Not Summon Senior Government Officials 2011 Sc

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...J.
[MARKANDEY KATJU]
.......................J.
GYAN SUDHA MISRA
...J.
[MARKANDEY KATJU]
.......................J.
GYAN SUDHA MISRA

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10/02/2013

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REPORTABLEIN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTIONCIVIL APPEAL NO. 5600 OF 2006R.S.Singh..AppellantversusU.P.Malaria Nirikshak Sangh & Others..RespondentsO R D E R Heard learned counsel for the parties.This appeal has been filed against the impugned interim orders dated 13
th
November, 2003 and 18
th
December,2003 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad,Bench at Lucknow. We have perused the said orders. A direction has been given in the said orders thatthe Principal Secretary, Finance along with the PrincipalSecretary, Medical & Health, U.P. Government shall appear personally before the High Court on the next date for non-compliance of the judgment of the High Court date15.11.1989/13.12.1989.This Court has been repeatedly observing that theHigh Courts ordinarily should not summon the seniorofficials of the government and that should only be done invery rare and exceptional cases when there are compelling
 
circumstances to do so.In
State of Gujarat vs. Turabali Gulamhussain
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5600 OF 2006 
-2- Hirani, AIR 2008 SC 86,
this Court observed 
:
“6. A large number of cases have come up beforethis Court where we find that learned Judges ofvarious High Courts have been summoning the ChiefSecretary, Secretaries to the government (Centraland State), Director Generals of Police,Director, CBI or BSF or other senior officials ofthe government.7. There is no doubt that the High Court has power to summon these officials, but in ouropinion that should be done in very rare anexceptional cases when there are compellingcircumstances to do so. Such summoning ordersshould not be passed lightly or as a routine orat the drop of a hat.8. Judges should have modesty and humility. Theyshould realize that summoning a senior official,except in some very rare and exceptionalsituation, and that too for compelling reasons,is counter productive and may also involve heavyexpenses and valuable time of the officialconcerned.9. The judiciary must have respect for theexecutive and the legislature. Judges should realize that officials like the Chief Secretary,Secretary to the government, Commissioners,District Magistrates, senior police officialsetc. are extremely busy persons who are oftenworking from morning till night. No doubt, the ministers lay down the policy, but the actualimplementation of the policy and day to dayrunning of the government has to be done by the bureaucrats, and hence the bureaucrats are oftenworking round the clock. If they are summoned bythe Court they will, of course, appear before theCourt, but then a lot of public money and time may be unnecessarily wasted. Sometimes High CourtJudges summon high officials in far off places
 
like Director, CBI or Home Secretary to theGovernment of India not realizing that it entailsheavy expenditure like arranging of a BSFaircraft, coupled with public money and valuabletime which would have been otherwise spent on public welfare.10. Hence, frequent, casual and lackadaisicalsummoning of high officials by the Court cannot be appreciated. We are constrained to make these
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5600 OF 2006
-3-observations because we are coming across a largenumber of cases where such orders summoning ofhigh officials are being passed by the HighCourts and often it is nothing but for the egosatisfaction of the learned Judge.11. We do not mean to say that in nocircumstances and on no occasion should anofficial be summoned by the Court. In someextreme and compelling situation that may bedone, but on such occasions also the seniorofficial must be given proper respect by theCourt and he should not be humiliated. Suchsenior officials need not be made to stand allthe time when the hearing is going on, and theycan be offered a chair by the Court to sit. Theyneed to stand only when answering or making astatement in the Court. The senior officials toohave their self-respect, and if the Court givesthem respect they in turn will respect the Court.Respect begets respect.12. It sometimes happens that a senior official may not even know about the order of the HighCourt. For example, if the High Court stays theorder of the Collector of suspension of a class-III or class IV employee in a governmentdepartment, and certified copy of that order isleft with the Clerk in the office of theCollector, it often happens that the Collector isnot even aware of the order as he has gone ontour and he may come to know about it only aftera few days. In the meantime a contempt of courtnotice is issued against him by the Courtsummoning him to be personally present in Court.In our opinion, this should not be readily done, because there is no reason why the Collectorwould not obey the order of the High Court. In

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