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Summoning officers to attend court proceedings hampers public interest: SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the practice of summoning officers to court for attending proceedings was not proper and it did not serve the purpose of administration of justice in view of the separation of powers of the executive and the judiciary.

The top court said the summoning of officers to attend court proceedings impinged upon their functioning and hampered public interest.

A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta set aside an Allahabad High Court order by which an application seeking recall of its order was dismissed in a matter of regularisation of daily-wage workers.

The bench said a grievance regarding regularisation of service on account of a break in service could not have been taken up in contempt proceedings when the issue had attained finality in the high court.

On various orders passed by the high court seeking presence of officials in court, the apex court said it was not justified.

"The practice of summoning officers to court is not proper and does not serve the purpose of administration of justice in view of the separation of powers of the Executive and the Judiciary.

"If an order is not legal, the courts have ample jurisdiction to set aside such an order and issue such directions as may be warranted in the facts of the case," the bench said.

It added that the officers of the state discharged public functions and duties and the orders passed by them were generally presumed to be passed in good faith unless proved otherwise as they were custodians of public money.

"Therefore, merely because an order has been passed, it does not warrant their personal presence. The summoning of officers to court to attend proceedings impinges upon the functioning of the officers and eventually, it is the public at large who suffer on account of their absence from the duties assigned to them," it said.

The top court said the entire proceedings in the contempt case before the high court was unjustified and in excess of jurisdiction.

The order came on an appeal filed by the deputy director, social forestry division, Agra and others challenging a high court order of February 16 last year by which an application for recall of an order dated December 6, 2017 was dismissed.

The case, which was initiated in 1992, relates to entitlements of daily wagers and regularisation of their services.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 10 2019. 20:00 IST