The Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal has directed all District and Sessions Judges of all Districts to designate Public Relation Officers within two weeks to attend to the queries of the doctors who are summoned as witnesses to avoid wastage of their time which is detrimental to the patients visiting them.
In a communication sent out to all District and Sessions Judges by the Delhi High Court Registrar General, the judicial officers have been directed to designate the PRO/ APRO in two weeks and mention their mobile numbers on the summon itself.
It is to be noted that ACJ Mittal has passed the directions following the concerns shared by the doctors during the training sessions held at the high court by the “committee to monitor proper implementation of several guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the Delhi High Court for dealing with matters pertaining to sexual offences and child witnesses”.
ACJ Mittal heads the committee and during the training program of doctors from various hospitals of Delhi with regard to the conduct of medical examination and recording of MLC, it had transpired that sometimes doctors, when summoned as witnesses, are unable to attend the court hearing due to exigencies such as attending to a medical emergency.
Their non-attendance sometimes results in adverse orders being passed against them.
Many doctors also shared that sometimes expert witnesses/ doctors on reaching the court come to know that the judicial officer concerned is on leave and it results in wastage of the precious time which is detrimental to the patients visiting them.
It was proposed in the training program that the mobile number, as well as email address of a responsible officer of the court, be mentioned on the summons itself so that in case doctors/expert witnesses are unable to attend the court hearings, they may inform the said officer or can get in touch with this officer to check the availability of the concerned officer before leaving for the court.
In light of this, ACJ Mittal has now directed the District & Sessions judges to designate PRO/ APRO “to attend to the queries of the doctors regarding availability of the judicial officers promptly”.
“The judicial branch shall inform or update these officials regarding the availability of judicial officers against recorded delivery. The mobile numbers of these respective powers of District Court be mentioned on the summons itself and conveyed to the hospital/ FSL and HODs (Head of Department) of other departments and a mechanism be involved for maintaining the records of receipts of such calls from the witnesses and onward communication of the same to the concerned court,” the high court said.
It is to be noted that last year, District & Sessions judge of Shahdara district AS Jayachandra had issued a circular asking all subordinate judicial officers to give priority to cases in which doctors have been summoned as witnesses so that they can record their evidence and leave as early as possible to attend to their patients.