Supreme Court: Do not summon government officials unnecessarily

The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal against a decision given by the Allahabad High Court. In this case, the High Court had summoned the Secretary of Medical Health.

A Bench consisting of Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Hemant Gupta heard the appeal.

It was observed by the apex that several High Courts call officers at the drop of a hat and exert direct or indirect pressure on government officials.
Such officials who are summoned face difficulties and it would cause a hinderance to their duties towards the society.

The Bench stated that the line of separation of powers between judiciary and executive is crossed, by summoning the officers and pressurising them to pass an order as per the whims and fancies of the court.

The bench also stated that the officials are also performing their duties as the third limb of governance. The actions or decisions by the officers are not for their benefit but they act as as a custodian of public funds and interest.

The Bench further stated that High Courts have the power 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 Bench further advised that if any particular issue arises for consideration before the High Court, and the advocate representing the State is not able to answer, it is advised to write such doubts in the order and give time to the State or its officers to respond instead of summoning them.

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