Supreme Court will soon release guidelines for summoning government officials

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Today, the Supreme Court of India was hearing a matter related to the summoning of two government officials for contempt of court by the Allahabad High Court. The bench addressed that summoning government officials in pending cases and already adjudicated cases require a different set of standards. The SC bench including Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice JB Pardiwala said that “We will lay down some guidelines for summoning of government officers. There must be a bifurcation of matters pending and the ones in which adjudication is complete. For pending (cases), summoning officers is not needed but once adjudication is complete then contempt steps in.” 

Earlier, a draft standard operating procedure (SOP) was submitted by the central government which include suggestions to follow by the Court while summoning government officials. The SOP suggested that “In exceptional circumstances wherein there is no option other than the concerned government official to be present in person in the court, due notice for in-person appearance, giving sufficient time for such appearance, must be served in advance to such official.” While hearing the matter today, the bench said that “We will close this for orders in the draft SOP case…we will lay down some broad yardsticks for summoning govt officers to the court…there is video conference etc.”

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