Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday directed the lawyers to produce typed copies of High Court judgements, since the presence of large watermarks made them otherwise unreadable.
The remarks were made by the CJI after a lawyer told him about the insistence of the Registry for producing typed copies of judgments along with the petitions.
Telling the Advocates to follow the Supreme Court Registry directions and co-operate with the Bench, the CJI noted that judges had to read hundreds of files daily and it became difficult to read the judgments due to large watermarks, adding that they cannot read with magnifying glasses.
On the Advocate’s request to direct the High Courts not to put watermarks on judgments, the CJI said that the High Courts were not under his administrative control. However, he revealed that a letter was written to several Chief Justices of High Courts flagging this issue.
This is not the first time when Justice Chandrachud has raised the issue of watermarks making it difficult to read judgments for judges.
While he was a Supreme Court judge in August 2021, Justice Chandrachud had orally remarked that the E-Committee of the Supreme Court would contact the tribunals to request them to remove large watermarks from the pages of their judgments and orders.
As per Justice Chandrachud, one of his visually-challenged law clerks could not read the orders at all because of the watermarks, which made the orders unreadable by the machine. The watermarks, thus impacted the access to justice of the disabled, he added.
As per the CJI, the Tribunals did not come under the Supreme Court, but the issue would be dealt with in the E-Committee. The Supreme Court had previously taken up this issue with the High Courts and would also get in touch with the NGT. This was bad, as their orders could not be read, he added.
Speaking at a public function in December, 2020, Justice Chandrachud had said that the practice of using watermarks on each page of judgments and orders should be done away with.