Sunday, February 5, 2023

Allahabad High Court orders departmental action against assistant registrar

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The Allahabad High Court has ordered departmental action against the assistant registrar for failing to send the case file to the court.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Dlshad @ Dillu.

An FIR was lodged against the applicant at Police Station- Lisarigate, District Meerut under Sections 147, 148, 149, 302, 506 IPC.

The bail application of the applicant was rejected by Additional Sessions Judge,Meerut, on November 17, 2021.

The applicant is in jail since September 7, 2021, pursuant to the said FIR.

Shubham Prakash Gupta, counsel for the applicant, contended that the applicant has been falsely implicated in the instant case. A general and vague role in the assault has been assigned to the applicant in the FIR. The injured (since deceased) in his statement under Section 161 CrPC has identified Shahrukh and Salman as the assailants who fired the firearm at the deceased. Attention is called to the postmortem report which opines that the cause of death is fire arm injury. The prosecution case does not allege that the applicant used a firearm and his role is distinct from Shahrukh and Salman.

Counsel for the applicant claims congruency in role and seeks parity in relief granted to co-accused Smt Kamlawati Devi, who has been enlarged on bail by the Court on January 07, 2022 (Shahrukh Vs. State of U.P.). Apart from the case the applicant does not have any criminal history.

Lastly, it is submitted by counsel for the applicant that the applicant shall not abscond, and will fully cooperate in the criminal law proceedings. The applicant shall not tamper with the evidence nor influence the witnesses in any manner.

I.P. Srivastava, AGA for the State, could not satisfactorily dispute the aforesaid submissions from the record.

The Court has taken notice of the overcrowding of jails during the current pandemic situation (Ref.: Suo Motu Writ Petition (c) No 1/2020, Contagion of COVID 19 Virus in prisons before the Supreme Court of India). These circumstances shall also be factored in while considering bail applications on behalf of accused persons.

“I see merit in the submissions of counsel for the applicant and accordingly hold that the applicant is entitled to be enlarged on bail,” the court observed while allowing the bail application.

The Court ordered that let applicant Dilshad @ Dillu be released on bail inCase at Police Station- Lisarigate, District Meerut under Sections 147, 148,149, 302, 506 IPC, on his furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court below. The following conditions be imposed in the interest of justice:-

(i)The applicant will not tamper with the evidence during the trial.

(ii)The applicant will not influence any witness.

(iii)The applicant will appear before the trial court on the date fixed, unless personal presence is exempted.

(iv)The applicant shall not directly or indirectly make inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court to any police officer or tamper with the evidence.

Incase of breach of any of the above conditions, the prosecution shall be at liberty to move bail cancellation application before the Court.

The Court noted that, before parting, the impediment created by the registry official (Sandeep Kumar, Assistant Registrar, deputed in fresh filing section)in the hearing of the bail application has to be noticed. Specific order was passed by the Court on January 19, 2022 directing that this matter be placed inthe list of fresh cases on January 20, 2022. The orders are explicit and bearno ambiguity.

The Court observed that, however, neither the list of fresh cases depicting the case was prepared nor the file was sent to the court. The Bench Secretary of the Court inquired from the said official (Sandeep Kumar,Assistant Registrar, deputed in fresh filing section) about his failure to prepare the list of fresh cases depicting the said case and also not sending the file to the Court.

The said official replied that the order was not liable to be complied with due to various administrative instructions and refused to send the file or prepare the list. When this was brought to the notice of the Court, the Court directed that the official be summoned.

The said official appeared before the Court. When the Court enquired about his failure to prepare the list and to send the file to the Court, he reiterated his stand by stating that the order cannot be complied with due to administrative instructions. The said official remained defiant and reiterated his stand.

Subsequently, the Court summoned the Registrar General of the Court to account for noncompliance of the order of the Court. The Registrar General appeared in Court and also ensured prompt compliance of orders of the Court. The counsel was duly informed and the bail application was taken up and heard. The conduct of the said official (Sandeep Kumar, Assistant Registrar, deputed in fresh filing section) is clearly contumacious, the Court further observed.

“However the Court does not deem it appropriate to expend scarce judicial time by drawing contempt against the official. Judicial time has to be used more fruitfully for the purposes of dispensing justice. But the Court cannot remain silent spectator to such acts of grave misconduct and deliberate defiance of orders passed by the Court by officers of the registry. Such conduct interferes with the administration of justice. In case such officials are given free run,the public at large will lose faith in the judicial system,” the court said.

“Hence in the interest of justice and better administration of the Court, it is directed that departmental action be initiated forthwith against concerned employees as per law. It is also open to the High Court to consider whether relaxing of qualitative requirements and eligibility criteria for appointment and promotion to responsible posts in the registry of the Court is conducive to good administration of justice or not,” the order reads.

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