The Meghalaya High Court has directed its Registry to ensure that affidavits filed by the parties during the course of proceedings are duly verified. The high court has also directed that parties' Advocates will not be allowed to file affidavits on the basis of their personal knowledge regarding the case.
"The Registry is directed to henceforth insist on the affidavit by the parties themselves and not by their advocates and also on the requirement of a separate verification at the foot of the affidavit, which should specify as regards the statement contained in various paragraphs of the affidavit, with reference to paragraph number," the bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice W. Diengdoh ordered last Tuesday.
The directions were made in a writ appeal where the bench noted that the counsel appearing for the Respondent had filed her own affidavit, stating certain facts on oath and claiming them to be based on her personal knowledge.
Refusing to take that affidavit on record, the court observed,
"although an advocate representing his/her client can give legal advice to him/her but, he/she is not supposed to file an affidavit on the basis of personal knowledge about the case." Reliance was placed on a decision of the Gauhati High Court in Raj Kumar Prasad v. State of Arunachal Pradesh & Ors. (2006) 2 GLR 597.
"The advocate on being engaged by a party on Vakalatnama is entitled to plead, argue and assist the Court as an officer of the Court, fairly, honestly without identifying himself with the cause or party. The advocate is not to personify the party/client and is not expected to involve himself stepping into and moving through the shoes of party/client becoming a party interested, fomenting the litigation, to achieve the end as cherished by the party…
Judicial propriety requires that advocate should not file an affidavit himself for a party as deponent in support of the averments of a petition in which he is engaged as an advocate as the affidavits are stated to be correct on facts, records, to the best of the knowledge, the nature and source of knowledge and information are to be disclosed," it was held therein.
The division bench also noted that various affidavits filed by the litigants often do not contain any verification. It was informed that the Meghalaya High Court Rules, 2013 do not stipulate a mandatory requirement of verification of affidavits.
Nevertheless, the court reiterated the importance of verification as handed down by the Supreme Court in AKK Nambiar v. Union of India, AIR 1970 SC 652.
It further observed,
"It is settled proposition of law that in the absence of rule framed, an application or petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, must be drawn in conformity with the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code. It is also trite that affidavits should be confined to statement of facts and should not be used as vehicle of argument. Order 6 Rule 15 CPC mandates about filing of verification."
Directions were accordingly issued to the Registry for compliance.
Case Title: Union of India & Ors. v. Shri. Balbir Singh Yadav
Case No.: WA No. 18/2019
Quorum: Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice W. Diengdoh
Appearance: CGC R. Debnath, (For Appellant); Advocate S.A. Shallam and Advocate General A. Kumar (For Respondent)
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