Thursday, April 25, 2024

Allahabad High Court makes scathing comment on negligence by government in filing counter affidavit

The Allahabad High Court has made a scathing comment on the negligence on the part of the government in filing the counter affidavit, saying that it is commonly experienced by the Court that the State Counsels fail to extend their ability in drafting the counter affidavits up to the standards they are expected for.

Such practice not only wastes precious time of the Court but also becomes a stumbling block in administration of justice.

A Single Bench of Justice Manju Rani Chauhan heard a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Vinod Bihari Lal.

As per allegations in the first information report, four unknown persons on motorcycles on 20.06.2023, Tuesday, in the night at about 10 O’clock, when the informant was going alone on Scooty to Naini for some important work, when he reached old Naini Bridge, just before crossing the bridge, four persons on two bikes came from the backside and after reaching beside the informant, showing country made pistol, threatened the informant stating that he should withdraw the case lodged against R.B Lal and Vinod B Lal and others at Fatehpur. They also threatened dire consequences in case he does not withdraw the said case.

It has been further alleged that they dashed the bikes on the informant due to which he sustained injuries on right shoulder, back, both knees and became unconscious. After regaining consciousness, the passerby took him to Global Care Hospital at Naini where few known persons of the informant reached, and after administration of treatment and awakening he dialed 112 from a mobile number belonging to some known persons. Police reached the place and a first information report was lodged.

Counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant is innocent and has been falsely implicated in the case. He is not named in the FIR as the same was lodged against four unknown persons. The investigating officer has recorded statement of one Dwarika Prasad Prajapati, Security Guard, under Section 161 Cr.P.C who has specifically stated that he was on night duty at Old Bridge and no such incident as alleged in the FIR took place, but an accident took place due to collusion of a scooty and a bike.

The investigating officer also recorded statements of few other persons, who have denied any such incident. Statement of the compounder of Global Health Care Hospital, namely, Sachin Kumar has been recorded who has stated that first-aid was given to the informant and the injured-informant was not unconscious but was very much normal when he came to the hospital. He also stated that he was informed by the injured that he has sustained injuries as his scooty fell due to rash driving of a motorcyclist. After investigation Section 325 has been added deleting Section 308 IPC.

After three months, supplementary statement of the informant has been recorded, wherein a story has been set up stating therein that he was informed by Pawan Soni and Krishna Pandey that a conspiracy is being hatched by the applicant against him as he had lodged a case against the applicant.

Counsel for the applicant further submitted that, for the first time after three months, a story has been built up to show that the applicant had conspired to cause such an incident. As per the information given by the informant-injured himself to the compounder he sustained injuries due to rash driving of a motorcyclist and has not narrated any such incident as alleged in the FIR, anywhere.

Additional Advocate General P.K Giri placing reliance on the statement of the doctor of Government Hospital, has opposed the bail application emphatically.

The Court found that the counter affidavit filed by the State, barely holds any rational reply to the averments made in the bail application, whereas it is bereft of relevant documents. The counter affidavit seems to have been drafted heedlessly and in a very casual manner.

The Court said that,

State Government has a battery of efficient and competent counsels to render their assistance on its behalf to facilitate the Court so as to ensure ends of justice. However, it is commonly experienced by the Court that the State Counsels fail to extend their ability in drafting the counter affidavits up to the standards they are expected for. Such practice not only wastes precious time of the Court but also becomes a stumbling block in administration of justice. It is well known practice in this Court that Additional Advocate Generals are nominated for important matters for effective representation of the State before the Court.

State Government Counsel’s Office is required to formulate some effective practice to ensure drafting of counter affidavits properly, which will serve the purpose of establishment it is meant for. In few cases replies filed on behalf of the State are found up to mark, whereas in most of the cases adjournment is sought on the ground of bringing relevant documents on record, due to insufficient or incomplete reply in counter affidavits. The counter affidavit filed in the case in hand is an epitome of it, wherein P.K Giri has extensively argued on behalf of the State, however, his submissions are not substantiated with the pleadings in counter affidavit, and he seems to be oblivious and unaware of the documents brought on record in the Counter Affidavit.

Higher Authorities of the State Office, responsible to safeguard the State’s interest in the Courts, should bring forth such a mechanism which may ensure drafting of effective, coherent and comprehensive counter affidavits.

At the request of the Additional Advocate General, a week’s time is granted by the High Court to file a better counter affidavit annexing all the necessary documents including the statement of the doctor.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on 1st March, 2024.


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