A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions of impartiality and equal treatment to Registry of the Top Court in matters of listing cases, without adopting a "pick and choose" policy.
The petition by way of a Public Interest Litigation has been filed by Lawyer Reepak Kansal and avers that the intervention of the Court is necessary in order to dissuade the Registry eco-system from discriminating and humiliating litigants.
Kansal has stated that the Section officers and/or Registry of Supreme Court routinely gives preferences to some law firms and influential advocates for reasons "best known to them". This is discrimination and against equal opportunity to get justice in this Hon'ble Court, he states.
Highlighting a personal experience that he had with the Registry wherein his letters of "urgency" fell on deaf ears, Kansal states that by pointing out defects which were unwarranted, the Registry disparaged against the listing of his matter.
He states that despite a letter of urgency and "curing defects" several times, the registry failed to list his case.
"Seeing the disparity and discrimination in the part of Respondents, Petitioner made a complaint to Respondent No. 1 against the illegal activities of Registry. But no response was given to respondent on his complaints." - Plea Extract
In light of this, the petitioner states that there is no grievance redressal mechanism to deal with complaints against Registry. This had also led to several instances wherein the petitioner has been forced to deposit court fees even though it had been deposited earlier, Kansal adds.
The petitioner-lawyer also draws attention in his averments to the immediate listing of Republic TV's Editor In Chief Arnab Goswami's plea, which was filed at 8.07 PM and was listed the next day within one hour as declared in the Supplementary list of the Supreme Court website.
"Because, the Respondent no. 2/ Filing Section take several days to check / point out the defects if, it is filed by an ordinary petitioner or lawyers and list the cases within few minutes by ignoring the defects / procedure if, it is filed by any influential lawyer or petitioner"
The plea further contends,
"There is no procedure was followed by the Registry i.e. filing application for urgent hearing or letter etc which was necessary for the urgent listing of the cases during nation lock down"
The plea also contends that seeing this "discriminatory" practice adopted by the Registry and after failing to get his petition listed despite a letter of urgency on record annexed with the petition, Kansal complained to Secretary General of the Top Court via email. No response was given by the respondents, he states.
Kansal lays down in his petition that the Registry often draws unnecessary defects in petitions. Due to the above mentioned alleged irregularities, the petitioner purports to the circular issued by the President of the SCBA highlighting the problems faced by members of the bar due to lack of proper assistance by the Registry during lockdown.
Additionally, the petitioner has prayed that the Registry and its officials be directed not to point out unnecessary defects in cases of ordinary advocates and refund excess court fee and other charges, take action against erring officers for their involvement in list clearing and "bench hunting" as well as not tag/de-tag matters without specific directions of the court.
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