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Punjab and Haryana HC pulls up trial magistrate, says ‘does not read her own orders’

Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill in the order dated February 20 said, "If the said dates have been incorrectly mentioned in original order then the Presiding Officer concerned be asked to be more careful in future and to spare some time for reading the orders before affixing signatures".

Written by Sofi Ahsan | Chandigarh | Published: February 28, 2020 2:06:06 pm
Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court trail magistrate, Punjab and Haryana High Court judicial officer, India news, Indian Express The order was passed while dismissing an anticipatory bail petition of an accused in cheque bounce case.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has pulled up a judicial officer and said that she does not seem to read her own orders before signing them while directing the District and Session Judge Ambala to ask the presiding officer to be more careful in future and “spare some time” for reading the orders before “affixing” signatures to them.

While directing that the two orders, in which the mistakes mostly pertain to dates, be sent to the District and Sessions Judge for a report as to whether the trial magistrate’s orders annexed with the petition, heard by the High Court, are original and whether the dates mentioned in the order copies are incorrect, Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill in the order dated February 20 said, “If the said dates have been incorrectly mentioned in original order then the Presiding Officer concerned be asked to be more careful in future and to spare some time for reading the orders before affixing signatures”.

The order was passed while dismissing an anticipatory bail petition of an accused in cheque bounce case. On December 9, 2019, the trial court cancelled bail of the accused after he skipped the hearing. On December 20, the Sessions Court while granting him anticipatory bail directed him to surrender before the trial magistrate for bail but he again did not appear. While fresh arrest warrants were issued to secure his presence, the accused moved yet another application for grant of pre-arrest bail.

On January 16 this year, the Sessions Court told him to surrender before the trial court the next day and a direction was issued that he would be admitted to bail.

The accused again failed to appear before the trial court. On January 22, the trial court initiated PO proceedings under Section 82 CrPC (proclamation for person absconding) against him. He chose to move a third petition for anticipatory bail but it was declined on January 31.

While declining to grant anticipatory bail to the accused, Justice Gill of the High Court noted that it would like to point out that the trial magistrate “does not seem to be reading the orders passed by it before signing the same”. The single bench in the order has mentioned regarding two orders, which were also perused by The Indian Express, in which the mistakes have been made.

In an order passed in December 2019, the trial magistrate in the body of the order has mentioned “today i.e. 21.12.2019” —while referring to the date on which the order was passed — but the date mentioned at the bottom of the order is written as “20.12.2019”. Similarly, in an order passed last month, some of the dates mentioned are of January 2020 but the dates are written “incorrectly” as of the year 2019. Even the date mentioned below the order “is written incorrectly as 22.1.2019 instead of 22.1.2020”.

The order passed by Justice Gill further reads that “still further, the trial Magistrate while initiating proceedings vide aforesaid order passed on 22.1.2020 has ordered for securing the presence through proclamation for 31.1.2020, which is, in fact, a period less than 30 days as against the mandate of provisions of Section 82 Cr.PC”.

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