Centre’s Draft SOP Urges Courts to Exercise Restraint

A draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) note prepared by the Centre suggests a reimagined approach to the treatment of government officials summoned to court, especially in contempt cases. The draft outlines proposals for a more harmonious engagement between the judiciary and the government, emphasizing the role of courts and the conduct of proceedings in government-related cases.

The note advocates for a balanced approach, proposing that courts limit their involvement to outlining the “broad composition” of independently examining committees for cases under consideration. It recommends the government’s involvement in selecting committee members. The draft also advises against imposing rigid timelines on public policy matters, underscoring the importance of compliance with judicial orders. Furthermore, the note urges courts to practice restraint and avoid making comments on the appearance and background of government officials.

What does the draft SOP suggest regarding the treatment of government officials in court proceedings?

The draft SOP proposes a more congenial approach towards government officials summoned to court, particularly in contempt cases. It aims to redefine the interaction between the judiciary and government officials and emphasizes balanced engagement.

How does the draft SOP address the composition of examining committees?

The draft proposes that courts outline the general composition of independent examining committees for cases under consideration. It further suggests that the government should be granted the authority to identify committee members, fostering a cooperative approach.

What is the draft SOP’s stance on enforcing judicial orders concerning public policy issues?

The note acknowledges that compliance with judicial orders involving complex policy matters requires time, consultations, and approvals from Ministers. It discourages imposing strict timelines and recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach.

What recommendations does the draft SOP offer to judges regarding government officials’ appearance and background?

The draft SOP advises judges to refrain from commenting on government officials’ appearance, dress, education, or social background. It emphasizes treating government officials with respect and professionalism.

How does the draft SOP approach cases of contempt and judicial orders?

The draft proposes that judges not hear contempt cases related to their own orders. It advocates for the accused to seek a trial before another judge. It highlights the need to ascertain enforceability and the executive domain’s exclusivity.

What is the overall aim of the draft SOP, as per the government’s perspective?

The primary goal of the draft SOP is to create a friendlier and more fruitful connection between the judiciary and the government. It aims to enhance the quality of judicial order compliance, reduce the potential for contempt of court, and streamline the utilization of time and resources.


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