- The Orissa High Court has recently directed the state DGP to follow a uniform pattern of font size and line spacing in order to ensure better readability.
- The font size to be followed should be 12 in Times New Roman with a line spacing of 1.5 while preparing FIR, charge sheet and other reports.
- The directions were issued by a single judge bench of Justice S.K. Panigrahi.
Recently, in the case of Buni @ Tunirani Pradhan & Anr. v. State of Odisha, a copy of charge sheet was produced before the court which according to the court was “neither legible in open eye nor visible properly” due to the miniscule font size of the text.
Justice S.K. Panigrahi referring it to be a “serious issue” directed the Director General of Police, Odisha to inform all the police stations of the state to follow a uniform pattern of font size 12 in Times New Roman and 1.5 line spacing in every F.I.R., charge sheet and reports.
The court emphasized that not following a uniform pattern for text dimension and line spacing makes it difficult for prosecution, defence and the court as well to properly scrutinize the F.I.R, charge sheets and other reports causing “retarded processing”.
The court further noted that this is an issue which is very commonly encountered by both the parties to a case as well as by the court. The single judge bench proceeded to note that “Such smallest font size causes wastage of considerable time and energy of the Court while reading the same.”
Considering the problems faced due to lack of clarity on account of small font size and inappropriate spacing between the lines, the court observed that when the information is presented in a degraded manner, it is an affront to the reader of the text. It stated-
“Presenting information in a perceptually degraded fashion is affront to the reader of the text. The font so choosen should have higher readability quotient. Hence, the need for an appropriate font size and line spacing is very important to overcome the problem of disfluency in reading.”
The change in font size and line spacing will have a great impact on the readability quotient of the present information text.
The high court proceeded to direct the DGP of state to inform all police officers of all police stations to follow the issued instructions regarding the font size and line spacing to ensure better visibility and readability.
Further, an affidavit has to be filed before the court mentioning that the said instructions have been issued to all the police stations regarding the font size in F.I.R and other reports.
The affidavit has to be filed within three weeks.
The purpose of the directions given by the Orissa High Court is to ensure that the information produced before the court or to the opposite parties can be properly read without causing unnecessary difficulty to the reader of the text.
This issue might seem to be very trivial, but if we look it into from the point of view of a reader who has been given a document with extremely small fonts without proper spacing between the lines, making it difficult to understand even the easiest sentences just because he cannot properly see what is written, the trivial issue becomes actually frustrating.
And when this frustration is being a part of a legal proceeding, it causes unnecessary wastage of time, making it difficult to comprehend the information presented.
Therefore, the court has taken a good step on an issue which was rather being ignored or maybe was not catching enough attention amidst the several larger problems.
Click here to download the original copy of the judgement