‘Terrible, can’t read..’: SC on watermarks on tribunal orders

The Supreme Court on Friday observed various tribunals orders have large watermarks, making reading them difficult and the court’s e-committee will be contacting tribunals to ensure that such watermarks are removed from order copies.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud remarked, “It is terrible. You just can’t read their orders.”

The top court noted that though tribunals are not under its jurisdiction, it would ask the e-committee to direct tribunals to refrain from using large watermarks on order copies, as this make them unreadable and there is a problem, particularly for the visually challenged, because the order is not machine readable.

Justice Chandrachud added: “I had a law clerk last year who was visually challenged, who was also a Rhodes scholar… he couldn’t read it because it was not machine readable.”

“We had taken up the issue of watermarks with the high courts earlier. Will take up the issue with the NGT… Even I was not able to read it comfortably,” he observed, and added the judgments can be digitally signed.

It emphasized that a large logo on every page makes it very difficult to read the orders.

The bench made these remarks in the context of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order which had a large watermark on it. In March, Justice Chandrachud had noted that high courts and tribunals must refrain from using large watermarks on their orders.