Draft rules of criminal practice: Supreme court asks registrar generals of High Courts to appear if response not given within two weeks
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed that the High Courts should send their answers to the draft criminal rules prepared by Senior Advocates Sidharth Luthra and R Basant within two weeks via Registrar Generals.The apex court further ordered the Registrar Generals of the High Courts to appear before the Supreme Court on the next hearing date if they do not send the reports within the said time. The path was taken by a bench in the suo moto case "IN RE: TO ISSUE CERTAIN GUIDELINES REGARDING INADEQUACIES AND DEFICIENCIES IN CRIMINAL TRIALS" comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices L Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran. The Court had previously observed that some of the flaws in criminal cases were due to the laws of criminal procedure standard in several states. The SC therefore demanded that Senior Advocates Sidharth Luthra, R Basant and Advocate K Parameshwar send a report on amendments to the criminal practice laws. In March 2020, they submitted 'Draft Rules of Criminal Procedure' after consultation with different high court cases.
Senior Advocate Luthra told the bench today that only the Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Allahabad and Delhi High Courts gave their answers to the draft rules. Luthra submitted, "As many as 20 High Courts have chosen not to respond" The CJI-led bench, taking serious note of this, ordered, "In such circumstances, we consider it necessary to call upon the High Courts to submit their reports within 2 weeks. In case HCs cannot do so, the Registrar General of the HC shall remain present in this court on the next hearing date"
In the order that it had previously given notices to the Registrar Generals of High Courts and Advocate Generals of States, the bench noted after finding that the trial deficiencies were found to be due to the existing criminal practice laws. In the light of the relevant developments, the Supreme Court has issued a further preliminary order to the High Courts and the Director-General of the Police of States to send their answers to the amicus curiae's suggestions concerning the acceleration of proceedings in cases relating to dishonour of cheques under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
In these circumstances, taking into account the relevance of the matter for the administration of justice in different states, we are of the opinion that the High Courts shall send a reply to this court within four weeks through their Registrar Generals and States/UTs through their DGPs. If their reply is not submitted by the High Courts and States/UTs, the Registrar Generals of HC and Direct.