At a time when the judiciary struggles with a whooping 3 crore pending cases, the Supreme Court has come to the rescue of a man, who has been facing a criminal complaint for the past 13 years, by ruling that the archaic practice of summoning files from one court to another should be stopped as it curbed the speedy delivery of justice.
A Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur expressed concern over files summoned from lower courts getting stuck in the SC for years, thereby bringing trials to a virtual halt.
The court made the observation after G N Verma, against whom the criminal complaint was filed in August 2000, filed a petition seeking the quashing of the complaint, which the Jharkhand HC declined in September 2002. Verma then moved the SC after which special leave to appeal was granted in January 2004. The court said, “Despite the fact that this court did not pass any interim order staying the proceedings before the Trial Judge, we were informed that the criminal complaint has made absolutely no progress over the last thirteen years. We were understandably disturbed with this state of affairs.
“However, we were later informed that the trial could not progress since the original records of the case had been transmitted to this court. In the absence of the original records, the Chief Judicial Magistrate obviously could not proceed with the trial,” the court observed.
“It is time to look into and revisit the rules, practices and procedures being followed not only by this court, but also by other lower courts requiring the routine summoning of the original records of a trial for no apparent reason.
“This routine brings the trial to a grinding halt and delays the delivery of justice to an aggrieved litigant,” the court said.
Quashing the complaint against Verma, the Bench said: “Insofar as the criminal complaint is concerned, it does not contain any allegation against Verma.”