Judges should have modesty and humility, the Supreme Court has ruled while cautioning the high courts to exercise restraint in summoning senior government officials to court. Stating that respect begets respect, the bench of Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice Markandeya Katju said: “The senior officials too have their self-respect and if the court gives them respect, they in turn will respect the court.”
The bench issued guidelines for the high courts as it has come across in several cases that high court judges are summoning high officials to satisfy their ego. It was of the view that the personal appearance of the officials should only be in exceptional circumstances, that too for compelling reasons. Summoning a senior official at the “drop of a hat” is counterproductive, the bench said.
The apex court ruling came on the petition of Gujarat government, which challenged its high court order summoning the state’s chief secretary and law secretary. Justice R.S. Garg had sought the bureaucrat’s appearance because there was a delay of 25 days in filing a criminal appeal before the court. Justice Garg wanted to have a dialogue with the officials on what effective steps they were taking to provide staff to the office of public prosecutors to avoid delay in filing appeals.