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Criminal Trial Deficiencies: Supreme Court Seeks High Courts' Response On 'Draft Rules Of Criminal Practice'

Radhika Roy
27 Oct 2020 11:07 AM GMT
Criminal Trial Deficiencies: Supreme Court Seeks High Courts Response On Draft Rules Of Criminal Practice
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, during the suo moto proceedings related to inadequacies and inefficiencies in the criminal trial system, sought the response of all High Courts on the implementation of Draft Rules of Criminal Practice prepared by the amici curiae.Senior Advocate Luthra, one of the amici curiae appointed by the court in the suo moto matter, suggested that the High Courts should...

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, during the suo moto proceedings related to inadequacies and inefficiencies in the criminal trial system, sought the response of all High Courts on the implementation of Draft Rules of Criminal Practice prepared by the amici curiae.

Senior Advocate Luthra, one of the amici curiae appointed by the court in the suo moto matter, suggested that the High Courts should adopt the draft criminal rules by adopting them in the administrative side.

"We have tried to have a synchronized system all over India so that there is a rationalization of processes", he said.

Luthra told the bench that the draft rules were framed after serving notice to all High Courts and after hearing the views of those HCs which responded.  However, the Apex Court, in the interest of justice, sought to hear the High Courts' response to the same before issuing any such directions.

"Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra states that draft rules have been prepared after notice to HC and after hearing those HCs which responded. Nevertheless,  in the interests of justice, we should hear the High Courts before taking decision on framing rules", the bench comprising CJI SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao observed in the order.

The matter will be considered after four weeks.

Criminal Law Reforms: Amicus Curiae Submits Draft 'Criminal Rules Of Practice' Before SC [Read Report]

In March 2017, the Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognizance on the issue of "inadequacies and inefficiencies in the criminal trial" based on suggestions of Senior Advocate R. Basant.

It had been highlighted by Basant that though there were beneficial provisions in the Rules of some High Courts which ensured that certain documents, such as list of witnesses and the list of exhibit/material objects referred to, were annexed to the judgement and the order itself of the trial court, these features did not exist in the Rules of some other High Courts.

He suggested that, in the interest of better administration of criminal justice and to usher in a certain amount of uniformity, and acceptance of best practices prevailing over various parts of India, the Supreme Court may consider the issue of certain general guidelines to be followed across the board by all Criminal Courts in the country.

Post consideration of the same, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Registrar-General of all High Courts and the Chief Secretaries/the Administrators and the Advocates-General/Senior Standing Counsel of all the States/Union Territories, so that general consensus could be arrived at on the need to amend the relevant Rules of Practice/ Criminal Manuals to bring about uniform best practices across the country.

Senior Advocates Sidharth Luthra and R. Basant were then appointed as amicus curiae in the matter.

In March 2020, pursuant to the directions issued by the Supreme Court, the amici submitted a Report outlining the Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2020. The Draft Rules were prepared after receiving responses from 15 States/Union Territories and 21 High Courts in order to recognize the diverse practices prevalent in various States and High Courts and to ensure that the same was compliant with the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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