The Supreme Court on Friday said that judges should not behave like “emperors” and public officials should not be summoned to Court unless absolutely necessary.
The Court was hearing an appeal against an Allahabad High Court judgment; the bench noted that the High Court called the Secretary, Medical Health before the Court, in a Petition challenging Transfer Order.
A bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hemant Gupta observed 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. 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.
The bench also stated that the public officers of the Executive are also performing their duties as the third limbs of the governance. 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 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. The same is liable to be condemned in the strongest words.
The bench referred to a decision in Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club & Anr. v. Chander Hass , the court observed that judges must know their limits. They must have modesty and humility, and not behave like emperors. The legislature, the executive and the judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation. 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.
Further the Court reiterated that public officers should not be called to court unnecessarily. The dignity and majesty of the Court is not enhanced when an officer is called to court. Respect to the court has to be commanded and not demanded and the same is not enhanced by calling public officers. The presence of public officer comes at the cost of other official engagement demanding their attention. 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.