The District Judge at Saket court has asked staffers to report at sharp 10 am everyday and remain present either up to 5 pm or till the time proceedings are on, a directive which comes close on the heels of a woman stenographer creating a scene and leaving proceedings midway.
The circular of the district and sessions judge of Saket Courts on May 31 comes in the backdrop of a peculiar incident, when the stenographer walked out to catch her cab when the special court at Tis Hazari was recording evidence through live video-conferencing.
In a stern message, the district judge has asked court staffers to remain present at 10 am sharp and not leave court premises before 5 pm or till the presiding officer is present, whichever is later.
In a circular, District Judge (south east district) Girish Kathpalia issued certain instructions, on account of shortage of court staff and ordered its strict compliance.
The failure to comply with directions would be treated as “deliberate dereliction of duties” and shall entail strict disciplinary action, it said.
The incident at Tis Hazari courts had prompted the judge, to refer the incident to the district and sessions judge for action against the stenographer.
The Saket court’s district judge made it clear that the staff has to mandatorily carry identity cards daily and shall be present in the court at sharp 10 am without failure.
“No staff official shall leave the court premises before 5 pm or till the presiding officer of the court is present, whichever is later. However, subject to permission of the presiding officer, lady officials may leave office at 5 pm,” the circular said.
It said that any staff official intending to be on leave on a particular day shall give written intimation latest by 10:15 am, failing which he or she shall be treated as “absent unauthorisedly”.
In courts where two stenographers are posted, only one would be permitted to take leave at a time so that judicial work does not suffer, it said.
Further, the circular said that in courts where there is only one stenographer and is on leave, the assistant ahlmad (record keeper) shall substitute him as stenographer. In case, where no assistant stenographer has been posted or is on leave, the ahlmad shall work as full time stenographer.
Having faced the perplexing situation, the Tis Hazari court judge had described the scene created by the stenographer as a “very sorry state of affairs” and said she had “hijacked” the live video conference proceedings in the presence of several lawyers, giving a “very shabby impression” to the public at large present there.
The presiding officer had termed the stenographer’s act as a “gross misconduct” amounting to dereliction of duty, and said it also led to undermining the authority of the court and disrespect to the chair.
The judge, while warning the staff of initiating contempt action, had referred the matter to the District and Sessions Judge (Headquarters), the head of lower judiciary, for taking appropriate action against the “delinquent” staff.