Lack of clarity on policy to summon persons in foreign countries: DCW
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) told the Delhi high court that there was a lack of clarity on central government policies regarding issuing summons to persons residing in foreign countries, and that it led to severe delays in cases.
Following the DCW statement, the court on Tuesday directed the MHA to file their response in the matter and fixed it for May 27.
The court was hearing a plea it had initiated itself after Additional Sessions Judge Illa Rawat had written to the high court on the delay in serving the summons to such parties leading to delay in disposal of cases.
On August 30, 2018, the ASJ criticised the Delhi Police for the delay and not co-ordinating with the ministry of external affairs (MEA) to produce such witnesses in court. She directed the police to form guidelines for the purpose.
“….the cases involving victim, who are foreign nationals, continue to remain pending in the court for long durations without any effective outcome. The police authorities have to come up with an effective procedure to deal with such cases and if necessary they should take assistance of Secretary, DSLSA, as well as DCW or other NGOs so that the trial of the case is not a mere formality for acquittal of the accused for want of production of material witnesses/victim/prosecutrix, who is a foreign national,” the judge had written in the order.
Pursuant to this, the DCW, in an affidavit filed by advocate Dolly Sharma, told the court that the women body had conducted meetings with the officials of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), MHA, DLSA (south), officials of the law department of the Delhi government.
In a series of meetings, it was figured out that it was not the responsibility of the MEA to serve the summons, but the MHA is responsible for the same. The DCW, in its report, said that the lack of clarity had led to the delay in serving the summons.
According to ministry of home affairs (MHA) guidelines, issued on February 11, 2009, a period of 12 weeks is required for servicing summons and notices to persons residing abroad.
The DCW report added that the guidelines were discussed and recommended suitable amendment “to decrease the average processing time...”.