• Supreme Court decides to set guidelines to bring uniformity in criminal trial

    March 31, 2017

    Since the trial courts in different states of India practice different conduct of proceedings in criminal cases, the Supreme Court has decided to bring uniformity in the same by issuing guidelines incorporating the best procedure to be followed in holding criminal trials.

    A bench consisting of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao took suo motu cognizance of alleged inadequacies and deficiencies in the trial proceeding followed by lower courts and issued notice to Registrar General of all High Courts and Chief Secretaries of states seeking their response so that general consensus could be arrived at on the need to amend the relevant rules and criminal manuals to bring about uniform best practices across the country.

    The court passed the order after senior advocate R Basant placed a list highlighting various drawbacks in the trial proceedings conducted by lower courts. He said that there was no uniform procedure and the apex court should intervene to bring uniformity in trial proceedings in criminal cases.

    He suggested that the apex court should pass an order to trial court to write concise judgments and to restrain judges of lower courts to avoid repetition of pleadings, evidence, and arguments as it makes the judgments cumbersome, and takes away the precious time of the court.

    "The healthy practice in some states of the investigating officer obtaining and producing (or the wound certificate/ post mortem certificate showing) the front and rear sketch of the human torso showing the injuries listed in the medical documents specifically, may be uniformly insisted. This would help the judges to have a clearer and surer understanding of the situs of the injuries," he said.

    Agreeing with his submissions, the bench decided to examine the issue and to frame guidelines for trial proceedings.

    "In the circumstances, we direct that notices be issued to the Registrars General of all the High Courts, and the Chief Secretaries/the Administrators and the Advocates-General/Senior Standing Counsel of all the States/Union Territories, so that general consensus can be arrived at on the need to amend the relevant Rules of Practice/ Criminal Manuals to bring about uniform best practices across the country," the bench said.


    The decision of the Supreme Court to bring about uniformity in the proceedings right from the lower level courts is appreciable. There are various lacunae in the judicial system of our country and this is just a step ahead in fixing the same. If there is homogeneity in the conduct of all the courts, it shall accelerate the judicial proceedings at all level.

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