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Bombay High Court Denounces Practice of Submitting Documents in Sealed Covers

The Bombay High Court has strongly criticized the practice of accepting documents submitted by litigants in sealed covers. A division bench consisting of Justices GS Patel and Kamal Khata emphasized that this practice violates principles of fair justice, transparency, and prejudices the opposing side in the case.

Fair Justice and Transparency

The bench declared that courts should not allow litigants to submit information in sealed covers, as it contradicts the fundamental concepts of fair justice, openness, and transparency in the judicial process. No party should rely on sealed cover material to the detriment of the opposing side, and no court should permit it.

Case Background

The case that prompted this observation involved Sonali Tandel challenging an order from the Chief Executive Officer of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) regarding flat allocation. Tandel claimed to have suffered prejudice by being denied transit rent and the entitled flat.

Disapproval of the Practice

The court disapproved of the practice of accepting documents in sealed covers without comments and clarified that it would not allow such submissions. It emphasized that if a party sought immunity from disclosures, it must request a judicial order, and a party could not decide unilaterally what to disclose, especially when the court ordered disclosure on affidavit.

Emphasis on Judicial Orders

The court stressed that parties must comply with judicial orders regarding disclosures and underscored that non-compliance could lead to contempt actions.

This decision aligns with the broader principle of transparency and fairness in the legal process and reinforces the importance of open disclosure and equal access to information in litigation.


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