New Delhi, July 9: Emphasising that public officers shouldn't be called to court unnecessarily, the Supreme Court on Friday observed judges must know their limits and they must have modesty and humility, and not "behave like emperors".
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta said: "A practice has developed in certain High Courts to call officers at the drop of a hat and to exert direct or indirect pressure."
The bench noted that the line of separation of powers between judiciary and executive is sought to be crossed by summoning the officers and in a way, putting pressure on them to pass an order as per the whims and fancies of the court. "Summoning of officers frequently is not appreciable at all. The same is liable to be condemned in the strongest words," it added.
The top court made the strong observation while hearing an appeal, where the Allahabad High Court had summoned UP's Secretary, Medical Health.
The top court further added that summoning of the officer is against the public interest as many important tasks entrusted to them get delayed, creating extra burden on them or delaying the decisions awaiting their opinion.
The bench said the public officers of the executive are also performing their duties as the third limb of the governance. The actions or decisions by the officers are not to benefit them, but as a custodian of public funds and in the interest of administration, some decisions are bound to be taken, it added.
"This Court in a judgment reported as Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club & Anr. v. Chander Hass & Anr, observed that judges must know their limits. They must have modesty and humility, and not behave like emperors. The legislature, the executive and the judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation," said the bench.
The court reiterated that public officers should not be called to court unnecessarily, and the dignity and majesty of the court is not enhanced when an officer is called to court. "Respect to the court has to be commanded and not demanded and the same is not enhanced by calling public officers. The presence of public officer comes at the cost of other official engagement demanding their attention," the bench noted.