New Delhi, August 21: The Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it will lay down some guidelines for the summoning of government officers by the courts. The top court made these remarks while hearing a matter related to an Allahabad High Court order whereby two senior officers were directed to be taken into custody for non-compliance with the court's directive.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, told the court that the government had come out with a draft Standard of Procedure (SOP) for the appearance of government officials before courts in litigation. A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that it has gone through the Centre's draft proposal.
There must be a bifurcation of matters
The court also said that there must be a bifurcation of matters which is pending and the ones in which adjudication is complete. Centre in its proposal for SOP regarding the appearance of Government Officials in Court Proceedings/Contempt proceedings in Government matters, recommended various aspects.
SC had stayed Allahabad HC order directing to take two IAS officers into custody
The court was hearing Uttar Pradesh Government challenging an Allahabad HC order. Earlier the top court had stayed the Allahabad High Court order directing to take two IAS officers into custody for non-compliance with the court's directive and ordered to release them forthwith.
Allahabad HC had directed to take Shahid Manzar Abbas Rizvi, Secretary (Finance), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) and Sarayu Prasad Mishra, Special Secretary (Finance) into custody for non-compliance with the court's directive to execute within a week a proposed rule to enlarge facilities for retired high court judges.
Uttar Pradesh Government then moved the Supreme Court against Allahabad HC order. Allahabad High Court had noted that the averments made in the affidavit and the conduct of the officers suppressing material facts and misleading the Court, prima facie, have committed criminal contempt of the Court.
Hence, Allahabad HC had directed that officers present in the Court, namely, Shri Shahid Manzar Abbas Rizvi, Secretary (Finance), Lucknow and Sarayu Prasad Mishra, Special Secretary (Finance) are taken into custody and they shall be produced before the Court on April 20, 2023, for framing of charge.
The HC had also issued bailable warrants to Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, and Prashant Trivedi, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Lucknow, through the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate, to ensure their presence before this Court on April 20, 2023.
The HC had also said that the officers shall show cause as to why charges may not be framed against them. The HC had noted that matters pertaining to providing domestic help and other facilities to the former Chief Justices and former Judges of this Court was kept pending on one pretext or the other.
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