Jt registrars can record evidence

New Delhi: For speedy disposal of cases, the Delhi High Court has held that joint registrars are empowered to record evidence and examine witnesses in an election petition.

"In the matter of recording of evidence, in an election petition, the procedure as provided under the Civil Procedure Court for trial of suits shall apply and accordingly, the joint registrars who are empowered to record evidence in suits are held empowered to record evidence in an election petition also," Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.

The observation was made by the judge during hearing of a petition filed by a BJP candidate challenging the election of rival Congress candidate in Delhi`s Sultanpur Majra assembly constituency.

The Congress candidate had pleaded that the trial in a suit is different from the trial in an election petition which is governed by Representation of People Act, 1951.

He had also claimed that the rules framed by this court in relation to election petitions were different and the joint registrars should not record evidence.

Rejecting the argument, the court directed the joint registrar to proceed with examining the witnesses in the election petition as per schedule.

"Once the High Court has taken care to appoint judicial officers as joint registrars for recording evidence, I am unable to find any prejudice which would be suffered by the parties to an election petition from recording of evidence by such joint registrars," the court said.

"Experience showed that the judges were not able to devote sufficient time for recording, examination and cross examination of witnesses and which led to considerable delays.

The said attempt of this court has been successful with the trials being expedited," the court observed.

Justice Endlaw dismissed the argument of the counsel for the Congress candidate that it was improper that instead of the single judge, who heard the petition filed by BJP candidate challenging his election in 2008, the joint registrar has been recording the evidence.