New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The Supreme Court today asked all states, union territories and the High Courts to file their responses along with suggestions by March 16 on the need to amend criminal manuals to bring about uniform best practices across the country and improve the criminal justice system. Also Read - Dissent Cannot be Termed Seditious, Says Supreme Court; Junks Plea Against Farooq Abdullah

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said the responses and suggestions be handed over to senior advocate R Basant, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, to enable him convene a meeting with all the parties and formulate a draft proposal, which would be dealt with by the top court. Also Read - Is it Safe for 14-year-old to Terminate 26-week Pregnancy? SC asks Haryana Hospital

The bench said the draft proposal should be submitted to the court by April 16. Also Read - Husband May be Brutal But Can Sexual Intercourse Between Man And Wife be Called Rape? SC Stays Arrest of Rape Accused

During the hearing, the bench observed that the issue before it was “completely non-adverserial” and all the parties should sit together and deliberate upon it.

The court was told that the states and high courts, which have not yet filed their responses and suggestions, could furnish them by March 16 so that the amicus could prepare the draft proposal.

The apex court had last year decided to take up the matter on its own while hearing a criminal appeal related to a case in Kerala.

The court had passed the order after Basant, appearing for one of the parties in the appeal, had referred to “certain common inadequacies and deficiencies in the course of trials adopted by the trial courts while disposing of criminal cases”.

Giving details of the specific issues flagged by the senior lawyer, the apex court had noted that he has highlighted several issues.

These included the “pernicious practice of the Trial Judge leaving the recording of deposition to the clerk concerned and recording of evidence going on in more than one case in the same court room at the same time, … has to be disapproved strongly and discontinued forthwith”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.