SRINAGAR: The Chief Justice of J&K High Court today passed a direction to all principal district judges of the state to designate the section officer of their respective courts as a Nodal Officer to attend to the queries of expert/medical witnesses who many times face difficulty in attending court hearings due to medical emergencies or the unavailability of judicial officers.
It was directed by the Chief Justice that the judicial branch of each court in the district shall early morning inform/update the Nodal Officer regarding the leave position and availability of judicial officers. It was also directed that the mobile number and e-mail ID of the designated Nodal Officer shall be mentioned on all summons to expert witnesses.
“All these particulars shall be conveyed to the hospitals/FSL and HoDs of concerned departments,” the order recorded.
Further, it was directed that all Principal District Judges shall prescribe a mechanism for maintaining records/registers of receipts of calls from the expert witnesseses and onward communication of the same to the concerned court.
The Chief Justice directed that all the Principal District Judges shall submit compliance reports of these directions to the Chief Justice’s Secretariat within two weeks.
The order was passed in view of the fact that under the aegis of the committee to implement guidelines laid down by judicial precedents and the committee to govern the affairs of the State Judicial Academy, it was revealed that doctors when summoned as witnesses at times face difficulty in view of exigencies due to some medical emergency while attending to patients and are hence unable to attend court hearings.
“As a result of their absence, adverse orders are passed against them. It has also transpired that sometimes expert witnesses/doctors on reaching the court come to know that concerned judicial officer is not available. This not only causes grave inconvenience to the expert witness but also results in wastage of valuable professional time, which is detrimental to the patients visiting them,” the order said.
The order also said that same may be the experience of other experts summoned to testify before courts.