In an out-of-the-ordinary direction, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has banned across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh the recording of telephonic conversations between court officials and Judicial Officers belonging to the subordinate judiciary. The orders restraining the court officials are applicable to the recording of conversations with the families of the judicial officers as well.
The reason remains a matter of speculation. The instructions, in the form of a single-page note, have been conveyed by the Registrar-General of the High Court to all District and Sessions Judges in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
The communication, dated July 31, comes with a word of caution: “If any official is found violating the same, then it shall amount to grave misconduct on his/her part and shall be viewed seriously and appropriate action shall be taken against the erring official”.
The issuance of instructions to the judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary is not uncommon. But such instructions have been issued, perhaps, for the first time.
Available information suggests the sudden influx of cellphones with telephonic conversation recording facilities have triggered the issuance of such instructions to maintain a level of decorum, discipline and judicial propriety.