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SC reiterates respect to the court has to be commanded and not demanded: Same is not enhanced by calling public officers

The SC on July 9, 2021 {THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH & ORS. vs. DR. MANOJ KUMAR SHARMA} held that  a practice has developed in certain High Courts to call officers at the drop of a hat and to exert direct or indirect pressure. It was held that the line of separation of powers between Judiciary and Executive is sought to be crossed by summoning the officers and in a way pressurizing them to pass an order as per the whims and fancies of the Court. 

It was held by the Bench, comprising of Justice Hemant Gupta & Justice Sanjay Kishan KauI, that the public officers of the Executive are also performing their duties as the third limbs of the governance. It was held that the actions or decisions by the officers are not to benefit them, but as a custodian of public funds and in the interest of administration, some decisions are bound to be taken. It was held that it is always open to the High Court to set aside the decision which does not meet the test of judicial review but summoning of officers frequently is not appreciable at all. It was held that the same is liable to be condemned in the strongest words.

It was further held by the SC that judges must know their limits and they must have modesty and humility, and not behave like emperors. It was held that the legislature, the executive and the judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation. It was held that it is not proper for any of these three organs of the State to encroach upon the domain of another, otherwise the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset, and there will be a reaction.

The SC held that it is time to reiterate that public officers should not be called to court unnecessarily and the dignity and majesty of the Court is not enhanced when an officer is called to court. It was held that respect to the court has to be commanded and not demanded and the same is not enhanced by calling public officers. It was held that the presence of public officer comes at the cost of other official engagement demanding their attention. It was held that sometimes, the officers even have to travel long distance, therefore, summoning of the officer is against the public interest as many important tasks entrusted to him gets delayed, creating extra burden on the officer or delaying the decisions awaiting his opinion. It was held that the Courts have the power of pen which is more effective than the presence of an officer in Court. It was held that if any particular issue arises for consideration before the Court and the Advocate representing the State is not able to answer, it is advised to write such doubt in the order and give time to the State or its officers to respond. 

The SC concluded that writ petitioner was posted at Badaun and he was to report at the place of posting and after reporting at the place of posting, he should have asked for transfer, if permissible, according to the requirement of the State. It was held that he could not have dictated the place of posting without even joining the place where he was first posted. Therefore, the SC held that the orders of the High Court dated 05.03.2020 and 07.08.2019 were wholly unjustified, unwarranted, arbitrary and illegal. The same were set aside and the appeal was allowed by the SC.

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