Dear Magistrates, your handwriting must be legible, warns HC
For want of a legible handwriting, the case before the High Court shall not be defeated. So the High Court directed all the subordinate judicial officers, including magistrates, to make their handwritings legible while preparing the proceedings so that when appeals come up, it can be understood without any hurdles by any Judge of the High Court.
During trial, the magistrate writes down the proceedings of the case in his own handwriting. Generally it is not typed though in many states there has been much progress in recording the statements of witnesses by the stenographer. When the orders of the magistrates are appealed in the higher courts, including the High Court, it will be scrutinized. If the handwriting of the magistrate is not legible it may cause difficulty for the higher courts to appreciate the evidence.
The Kannur magistrate convicted an accused named Ramesan in a cheque case. The court imposed a fine of Rs 40.000. When the appeal filed by the accused reached the High Court, the Judge called the records of the magistrate court. It was then the sorry state of affairs was revealed.
The proceedings sheet in the magistrate court was found to be illegible and unreadable. Even with great difficulty the High Court Judge could not make out what was written by the magistrate. So the HC directed the magistrate to submit a readable copy of the proceedings the court prepared when dealing with the case.
Still there were shortcomings. The High Court pointed out that even the staff who prepared the readable copy had difficulty in understanding it. Yet Justice B Sudheenrakumar of the High Court made it out.
The above situation could have been avoided if the magistrate, who wrote the proceedings, had written it in a legible manner. If the proceedings are not in a legible and readable manner, different versions of the proceedings could be found in the so-called readable copy sent to the superior courts, the HC observed.
Therefore the magistrates and other judicial officers in the superior courts should make arrangements for the preparation of clear legible copies of their proceedings immediately after they are recorded. The judicial officers shall verify the correctness every day, the HC directed.
If it is not done on a daily basis, even the judicial officer who wrote it may find it difficult to read it later, observed the HC. The High Court directed that a copy of this order be sent to the subordinate judiciary to alert them. The High Court, however, upheld the punishment of fine imposed by the magistrate court.