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Kerala High Court Directs Registry To Not Accept 'Statements' Filed By Lawyers As Reply To Writ Petitions; Says Counter-Affidavits Should Be Filed

Hannah M Varghese
30 July 2022 6:45 AM GMT
Kerala High Court Directs Registry To Not Accept Statements Filed By Lawyers As Reply To Writ Petitions; Says Counter-Affidavits Should Be Filed
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It has to be a counter affidavit based on some official record duly verified by authorised officer.

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday passed an interim order dissuading lawyers from filing statements on instruction under the guise of reply or counter affidavit to a petition unless it is an affidavit duly verified by the authorised officer. While ruling that the practice of filing statements by a lawyer is not provided under the High Court Rules and Regulations, Justice...

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday passed an interim order dissuading lawyers from filing statements on instruction under the guise of reply or counter affidavit to a petition unless it is an affidavit duly verified by the authorised officer. 

While ruling that the practice of filing statements by a lawyer is not provided under the High Court Rules and Regulations, Justice Amit Rawal also cautioned the Registry of disciplinary action if any of its staff were found accepting such statements from lawyers.  

"Registrar (Judicial) is directed not to accept any statement filed by the lawyers purported to be a reply or a counter to the pleadings of the writ petition. It has to be a counter affidavit duly verified by the authorised officer and the information disclosed in the affidavit has to be on the basis of the official record available. In case such compliance is not made, this Court may be constrained to take disciplinary action against the officers as well as the staff of the Registry who are entertaining such statements."

The Single Judge added that very often these statements filed by lawyers were not even in conformity with the manner provided under the CPC: 

"It is strange that the advocates on the basis of the instructions are filing the statement and that too, not in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure and the format prescribed under the High Court Rules, as for every department, affidavit has to be on the basis of the information traced from the official record and not as per the instructions."

The Court was adjudicating upon a petition seeking a direction to the Passport Officer to re-issue passports to the petitioners. 

Advocates M. Kiranlal, Manu Ramachandran, R. Rajesh, Sameer M. Nair, Vishnu Mohan and T.S. Sarath appearing for the petitioners submitted that the latter are the minor children of Sadik and Binitha. 

In the petition moved through their mother, it has been submitted that they had moved an application to the Passport Officer to change their father's name to Sadik which was incorrectly written as Zakir.

However, since this was not allowed, the petitioners moved the High Court. 

The respondents appearing through ASGI S. Manu contested the petition by filing a statement based on the instructions received from the Regional Passport Officer as per a letter. It was contended that in the Birth Certificates produced at the time of submission of the application, the name of the father was written as Zakir.

However, the Court noted that the affidavit did not disclose if the said birth certificates were of the Registrar of Birth and Death or of some Municipality or local Panchayat.

"The two Birth Certificates reflect that the name of the petitioners were registered with the Alappuzha Municipality on 16.12.2003 and 15.10.2012 respectively. Those Birth Certificates do not reflect the name of the father as Zakir. "

Further, the Single Judge noted that the respondents had not placed on record any material in support of the "statement", which it opined, cannot be filed in the absence of any provision in the High Court Rules.

As such, the Court deemed it appropriate to summon the Passport Officer who passed the instructions to the Assistant Solicitor General without any material.

The Officer has been directed to be present before the Court on August 1 and to bring the records, the passports issued in favour of the petitioners reflecting the name of the father as Zakir and the proof of Birth Certificates submitted at the time of submission of the application for issuance of passport.

It was also directed that this interim order should be communicated to the Registrar (General) and Registrar (Judicial) for immediate compliance.

The matter will be taken up next on August 1. 

Case Title: Bilal S & Anr v. Passport Officer & Anr. 

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 389

Click Here To Read/Download The Interim Order 

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