Institute Quota Control System And Issue Tokens To Advocates Accessing Original Court Records: Bombay HC Directs Prothonotary And Senior Master [Read Order]

Institute Quota Control System And Issue Tokens To Advocates Accessing Original Court Records: Bombay HC Directs Prothonotary And Senior Master [Read Order]

Justice GS Patel of the Bombay High Court has directed the Prothonotary and Senior Master to institute a quota control system for accessing original court records. They were also directed to issue tokens to advocates for visiting the testamentary department and accessing original court records.

These directions came after advocate Manoj Kondekar, who was appearing for the petitioner in a testamentary petition, attempted to give the original court records accessed by him to an associate in Justice Patel’s court. Justice Patel was surprised at this and said:

“To my very great surprise, he also then had in his hand the complete original Court record which he attempted to give to my Court Associate. It seems that he obtained this record from the Testamentary Department on the pretext of removing objections. The Testamentary Department is extremely crowded and a separate table is kept outside where Advocates can carry out amendments, remove objections etc. There is obviously no supervision and this means that advocates and perhaps even parties directly access original court records at will. There is no control over what is being done with the original court record. This is how this Advocate could have personally taken that court record and brought it to this court.”

Additional Prothonotary and Senior Master SP Mathkar stated before the court that the testamentary department is so overcrowded that any given time there are over a hundred advocates crowding the department and there are only two peons. Thus, it becomes impossible to supervise or keep a track of who is doing what.

After this, the following directions were issued:

“The Prothonotary and Senior Master is directed to issue suitable directions to institute a quota control system for accessing the court records. The purpose for the access (removing objections, effecting amendments, inspection, etc) should be communicated to the department, and no access beyond the legitimate should be permitted. 

Photographing Wills, when permitted, is never to be permitted in the outside corridors. 

Tokens are to be issued for visiting the department for these purposes that require the papers to be taken to the table or desk outside. The Registry will decide the maximum number of tokens that can be issued per hour for visiting the department. The tokens should, of course bear a marking of the time-slot so that each token can only be used during that designated period. 

Whether it is 25 persons per hour or 50 persons per hour, or more, or less, is for the Registry to decide. The Prothonotary and Senior Master will also ensure that during these designated hours there is a peon, and if necessary engage additional staff, deputed to attend to that table which is set in the corridor outside the Testamentary Department. 

This is to ensure that original Court records are not taken away from there. The Prothonotary and Senior Master will also consider issuing a practice direction or note in this regard.”

Read the Order Here