On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand High Court observed that the practice of enclosing Rules, Acts, notifications, judgements and Government Gazettes with petitions, which are available electronically as well, not only imposes a financial burden on litigants but also causes great loss to the environment.
The aforementioned remarks were made by a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Justice Lok Pal Singh when a Counsel, Amar Shukla, submitted photocopies of the judgments to the Court.
Hon’ble Judge referred to Section 37 and 38 of Evidence Act, 1872 and stated that such judgements, Acts, notifications etc. were admissible evidence even if their xerox copies were not submitted to the Court.
A reference was also made to Article 48A of the Constitution which states that all States should take steps to protect the environment, forest and wildlife of the country.
Article 51-A(g) was also referred to which states that it is the duty of every citizen to improve and protect the natural environment including lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have the compassion to all living creatures.
While expressing concern over the deteriorating environmental situation, Hon’ble Justice Singh stated that paper used for making such submissions also harm the environment as the paper is unnecessarily wasted.
The Bench also referred to Apex Court’s direction to use A4 size papers and to utilise both sides of the sheet.
Hon’ble Judge further stated that when unnecessarily documents are printed out, the paper gets wasted and vast amounts of ink are also used up, which further generates more garbage.
Before concluding the hearing, Hon’ble Justice Singh stated that we had reached a situation where we are not able to revive the environment, and the situation is getting worse with every passing day, and all the people should come together to save the environment.
Directions issued by the Court
The registry was directed to circulate this order to the bar Council of Uttarakhand and the Bar Association and to inform the lawyers that they may not need to annexe a copy of Rules, Acts, Judgements and Government Notifications with the petitions.
Office of the Chief Standing Counsel was requested to accept only two copies of writ petitions for all parties, and they should insist on getting more copies.