The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Order to treat witnesses with dignity

New Delhi, Sept. 22 (PTI): Delhi High Court has issued a standing order to judicial officers to treat witnesses with respect and dignity.

“Shabby treatment should not be given to a witness in court. A witness is a very important link in a trial and he deserves respect and dignified treatment in the hands of judicial officers,” the registrar-general of the high court said in a standing order issued recently.

The order is based on suggestions made during the Judicial Officers’ Conference, held on May 11 and 12. The registrar-general has also sought strict compliance of several other decisions reached during the two-day conference.

The order has been circulated among all the judges in Delhi through the district and sessions judge.

In cases involving heinous crimes, courts should always be vigilant to expedite the trial. Adjournments should only be granted on written request by a lawyer, the order said.

Judicial officers must observe punctuality and inspect their courts. They have also been directed to spare some time every month to inspect the judicial records and exercise control over records maintained by the subordinate staff.

To minimise delay in recording evidence, parties should be given three to four opportunities and any further adjournment should be subject to heavy costs, it said.

The high court also said parties should be asked to file written statements on the first day of hearing and also written arguments.

It also asked subordinate courts to start sending processes through courier service on an experimental basis and impose exemplary costs on parties who do not file process fee on time.

In injunction matters, conditional orders regarding the limited number of opportunities should invariably be passed, the order said.

Judicial officers must have proper supervision over his ahlmad (file keeper) and “no unauthorised inspection should be allowed, as there is possibility of tampering of records,” the order said.

Judges have also been asked to reprimand their ministerial staff for indiscipline and direct their reader and ahlmad to laminate the registers properly.

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