Counter affidavits are being prepared superficially: Allahabad High Court pulls up State govt

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In a bail application, court said that the counter affidavit filed by the State, barely held any rational reply to the averments made in the application. Furthermore, it was bereft of relevant document

The Allahabad High Court has taken serious note of the negligence on the part of the government in filing counter affidavits in matters. 

While dealing with a bail application, the court remarked that the counter affidavit filed by the State, barely held any rational reply to the averments made in the bail application, and it was bereft of relevant documents as well.

"The counter affidavit seems to have been drafted heedlessly and in a very casual manner," the bench of Justice Manju Rani Chauhan noted. 

Court stressed that although the government has no dearth of qualified advocates who assist the court in delivering justice, it had been commonly experienced by the court that the State counsel failed to extend their ability in drafting the counter affidavits up to the standards.

"In few cases replies filed on behalf of the State are found up to mark, whereas in most of the cases adjournment is sought on the ground of bringing relevant documents on record, due to insufficient or incomplete reply in counter affidavits", court highlighted. 

The single judge bench emphasised that such practice not only wastes precious time of the court but also becomes a stumbling block in the administration of justice.

Further, the judge noted that it is a well-known practice in the high court that Additional Advocate Generals are nominated for important matters for effective representation of the State before the court.

"Thus, learned Additional Advocate General Mr. P.K. Giri was obliged to have been conscious enough with respect to the reply filed on behalf of the State, basis upon which he prepared the case to argue on behalf of the State," she opined referring to the matter at hand. 

Justice Chauhan highlighted that in the case at hand, though the Additional Advocate General, P.K. Giri extensively argued on behalf of the State, however, his submissions were not substantiated by the pleadings in the counter affidavit, and he seemed to be oblivious and unaware of the documents brought on record in the Counter Affidavit.

Therefore, taking a stern stance, Justice Chauhan ordered that the State Government Counsel's Office is required to formulate some effective practice to ensure the drafting of counter-affidavits properly. "...which will serve the purpose of establishment it is meant for," she added. 

She asserted that the higher authorities of the State Officer, responsible for safeguarding the State's interest in the courts, should bring forth such mechanism which may ensure the drafting of effective, coherent, and comprehensive counter-affidavits.

Accordingly, while seeking a better affidavit in the case at hand, Justice Chauhan allowed a week's time to the Additional Advocate General to file a better counter affidavit annexing all the necessary documents.

Case Title: Vinod Bihari Lal v. State of UP